CELT document T201000G

Bethada Náem nÉrenn

Unknown author

Edited by Charles Plummer

Bethada Náem nÉrenn

Lives of the Irish Saints

1. Life of Abban


In this Life


Once upon a time an eminent king assumed the headship of Leinster, whose name was Cormac. He had a wife named Milla, and she was own sister to Bishop Iubar. And it so befell that she was pregnant, and at the time of her delivery she sent word to her brother, Bishop Iubar. And when Milla saw her brother, she said:—

  1. Bishop Iubar to my aid!
    It is he who knows my secrets;
    Let him ask forgiveness of my sins;
    Sharp pains have overtaken me.

And the bishop said:

  1. Bishop Iubar is before thee,
    Sharp pains have overtaken thee;
    Thou shalt bear a noble wondrous son;
    May the King of the elements aid thee!


At the prayer of the holy bishop the woman bare a son without pain or travail; and he was baptized, and the name Abban was given to him. And he was sent to be fostered, and to be instructed in feats of strength and valour 1 with a view to his succeeding his father in the kingdom; but it was of no avail.


Whatever was recited to him of the words of God he would recite, and he remembered the Scripture without any trouble or committing to memory. The grace of God rested manifestly upon him; nor was this wonderful, seeing that Patrick, when he first landed in Leinster, prophesied of him, as did many other saints.


And his fosterers were astonished at Abban's mode of life; and they took him with them to his father and mother, and declared to them that Abban had no desire to shape his acts with a view to the succession, but (only) to follow the true God and the Catholic faith.


And his father and his mother entreated him to remain as their heir, but it was of no avail. “Everything is nought” said he, “save God.” And he was imprisoned, and chains put upon him, and he was put into 2 the hostages' pit. But the next morning they found him free without chain or fetter on the green of the fort. And when  p.4 they saw that they had no power over him, they allowed him to follow his own will. And he returned to the abode of his fosterers.


One day when Abban was with his foster-mother's calves, a wolf came to him. “God commanded,” said Abban, “to help necessity. Eat this calf,”  147a said he, “for thou art hungry.” The wolf ate it, and thanked Abban for its meal.


But the other youths were grieved that the calf should have been devoured by the wolf, and they went to complain of Abban to his foster-mother, and Abban was afraid of his foster-mother. “Ah Jesus!” said he, “who didst create this calf without any material; create it now out of the material that is left of it here.” The calf arose and joined the other calves, and bleated and frisked along with them. And Abban's fosterers went to the queen and king and told them of these miracles. “We are willing,” said they, “that he should worship Him who wrought these miracles for him.”


Abban went to Bishop Iubar, his mother's brother; and the bishop welcomed him for his godliness even more than for his near relationship to himself. Abban was then twelve years old. Iubar had many a saintly pupil, and many a noble church. But he had one church that he loved above them all in an island on the south side of Leinster, named Beggery.


Iubar went to Rome, and he begged Abban to stay and superintend the monks till his return. But Abban did not wish to do this, but to set out for Rome with Iubar, and he wept so that his shirt and breast were wet. Iubar called him, and he laid his head on his breast, and fell asleep; and Iubar went on board unobserved by Abban. And when he awoke he saw the ship in the offing, so that it seemed to him almost like an airy cloud, and he was sorely grieved thereat. “Ah Jesus!” said he, “prosper my way to yon boat. Thou didst cause the Red Sea to ebb, and nothing in the world is difficult for Thee. Lead me to worship Thee.”


He arose and set out over the sea, and angels were clearly seen on either side of him, and the spectators were uncertain whether heavenly wings had grown upon him, or whether he were walking like a man. The ship stopped for him on the sea, and the crew were astonished, until Iubar told them that it was for Abban that the ship delayed.


Abban went on board, and they land  147b in Italy, and go to a heathen city called Padua. And they were asked: “Whence have ye come? and in what direction are ye going?” “We are Irish”, said they, “and we are journeying to Rome, to receive the benefit of the reward which God promised to His people.” “What is that?” said  p.5 the king, “and what say ye of our gods?” “Gods deaf and dumb are yours; without power to help themselves or any one else.” “Show us some miracle of your own God,” said the king; “kindle this lamp with your breaths without any fire, or else ye shall have an evil death forthwith.” And Iubar and his company breathed on the lamp in turn, and it was not kindled. Now Abban was sleeping then from the effects of his journey; and they wake him, and he breathed on the lamp, and it was kindled at once.


The wife of the king died that very night; and on the morrow the king came to the. saints, and begged them to raise his wife, and he would receive baptism. “To Abban has God granted to do this,” said Iubar. Abban prayed over the woman, and roused her from death. And the king and his wife and all their people thereupon received baptism.


“Help this country,” said the king. “There is a venomous monster preying on it, both men and cattle daily. It has the shape of a lion; and I once led the people of the country to expel it, and it killed three hundred warriors of them, and remained in its own lair ravaging us daily.” Abban took some of them with him as guides to the place where the monster was, and (then) they went back again, for their fear did not allow them to do more than point it out from a distance.


The venomous monster with its huge 3 sting came to meet Abban. “I enjoin on the part of Jesus,” said Abban, “that the soul which God placed in thee, with which thou hast done deeds of evil, depart from thee, and that the frightful sting which thou hast vanish.” The soul (of the monster)  148a departed at the saint's word. And the inhabitants spread through the country to their own homes and dwellings praising God.


The king went to the saints. “We have a lake,” said he, “with venomous monsters on it, which ravage the country, and we would fain have your help against them.” They went together to the brink of the lake; and the monsters came to meet Abban, and lay down beside him, and licked his feet, and did obeisance to him. “I command you,” said Abban, “in the name of the Trinity, to go into a small corner of yonder lake, and to live on its fish, and to remain there continually without injuring any one at all.” And they did so; and they are still seen in that corner at the end of every seventh year, 4 to show that they remain there in fulfilment of Abban's word.


The saints went on to Rome with the benedictions of the  p.6 people, and they also blessed the people. After accomplishing their pilgrimage in Rome they went back to Ireland.


Patrick and Bishop Iubar and Abban went in a ship on Loch Garman; and they saw a huge monster by their side with a hundred heads, two hundred eyes, and two hundred ears, and it stirred up a violent storm on the sea, bringing the gravel to the surface, so that the ship was sinking. Patrick and Bishop Iubar went on to the benches of the ship to pray God to help them.


Abban stayed behind, for he did not consider his prayers comparable to those of the other saints; and the storm did not abate. An angel said above them: “Take Abban to you, for it is to his prayer that has been granted the repelling of yon monster.” And Abban was brought to them, and he prayed to God and repelled the monster, and it was not known whither it had gone. And it was the devil who had caused the monster to come to them in that form to destroy the saints. The sea then became calm, and they landed on the strand of their choice.


Abban was once by the shore, and saw a sea wave of enormous size coming towards him, and it towered above the land, and struck the shore at  148b the place where he was, but came no further. Abban laid his staff upon the wave, and mounted on it, and the staff carried him on the wave out into the deep sea, and many devils came around him. “Now,” said they, “we will take vengeance on thee for all the wrong and persecution which thou hast wrought on us, in carrying off our people from us by thy subtlety and fantastic jugglery;” and then they heard the voice of an angel above them.


“Be off,” said he, “to the depth of hell, where ye shall abide for ever.” And they did so; and Abban was upon his staff all the time. “Thou shalt be,” said the angel, “for three hundred and seventeen years serving God without there being any power to assail thee, and (then) thy soul goes to the presence of the Trinity, and till the end of doom men will be the better for this voyage which thou hast made. God has given to thee power over the sea such as He never gave to any one before. No one who goes to sea in coracle or ship shall fail to return safe, if he recites (this couplet) thrice in the name of the Trinity”:

  1. The coracle of Abban on the water,
    And the fair company of Abban in it.
“And thrice shalt thou go to Rome.”


One day Abban was walking by the shore of the harbour; and saw three ships in port starting for Rome. He went to them, and entered one of them to join in the pilgrimage on which they were bound; and there were fifty men in each ship. They got out on to the high sea, but they could not move in any direction. They remained  p.7 thus for a long time, and marvelled greatly at it, till they heard the voice of an angel above them: “This is the cause of your (trouble)” said he, “that ye have no head or abbot over you. There is a fitting abbot for you there,” said the angel, “and his name is Abban.” “We do not know the man,” said they. “Cast these lots among you,” said the angel, “and the one on whom this lot shall fall, offer to him the headship of you.” And the lot fell upon Abban, and they did obeisance to him; and they had a prosperous voyage till they reached Rome.


In Rome they were met by one who used to give first night's entertainment to every pilgrim who entered Rome; and he took them to his house, and Abban was greatly honoured by him. And the men marvelled at the special treatment which he gave to Abban without knowing him.  149a “An angel pointed him out to me,” said the goodman of the house. “That is no wonder,” said they, “(for) we were compelled to remain motionless on the sea, till we did obeisance to him.” Gregory conferred priest's orders on him, and made him an abbot.


And they set out to return to Ireland; and he fell in with two armies that were on the point of joining battle, with their spears couched and swords drawn one against the other. Abban went between them. “In the name of the Trinity,” said he, “cease from this madness which possesses you, and exchange the worser deed for a good deed.” They laid aside their anger, and made peace and concord, and they remained in quietness and amity thenceforth. And Abban went to Ireland, taking the benediction of these armies with him.


He went on to Connaught, and built three noble churches there. And he went back to Crích Eachach Coinchinn in the district of Corco Duibne. Many holy churches then were sained by Abban. And he blessed Boirnech, and gave it to Gobnat. And he blessed Cell Aithfe on Magh Coinchinn and gave it to Finan; and he prophesied of Finan sometime before he was born, 5 and assigned Cell Eachach Coinchinn to him.


And he blessed Cúl Collainge, and Bri Gobhann, and Cell Cruimthir, and Cell na Marbh; and he blessed Cluain aird Mobecoc, and Cluain Finnglaisi, and left Beccan there, and many other churches; and he left officers of Holy Church in each one of them.


Abban went into Eile, and the king and the people of the country were holding a fair, and they were heathen; and Abban came sowing the word of God among them. “What is God?” said  p.8 the king. “The fashioner of heaven and earth, who knows both past and future” (lit. everything that has come and that has not come.) “Tell me,” said the king, “that big stone yonder on the hill, is there more of it in the earth or above the earth?” And Abban told him. And slaves of the king were sent to raise it out of the earth, and it was found to be as Abban said. And the king and his country accepted baptism thereupon.


“There is a venomous monster in this country,” said the king, “shaped like a cat, with fiery head and tail, bigger than the calves of our kine, and with teeth like a dog's.” “I promise thee on the part of God, that it shall not do harm to any one of this country,” said Abban. And the monster happened to meet him one day by the river Brosnach, and licked his feet, and lowered its horrible bristles and its venomous sting, and did obeisance to him. And he took it with him, and put it into a lake near by, to live on fish and lake water. And he commanded it not to injure any man or beast thenceforth; and this was fulfilled.


Now the king was old at this time, and he had no heir except a daughter whom his wife bore that very night. And he requested Abban to baptize her. And he perceived the sadness of the king at having no heir. “If God pleases,” said Abban, “thou shalt have an heir.” “Nay,” said the king, “that is impossible for me owing to my age.” Abban took the infant in his hands, and prayed earnestly to God that the king might have an heir; and the girl that he immersed in the font he took out as a boy, and laid it in the king's bosom. “Here is thy son,” said he. And the king was exceeding glad, and so were the people of the country, at these miracles. And Abban and the king parted in great amity, and Abban went to Ros mac Triuin.


One day Abban was on the bank of the Siuir, and the river was in flood. The (water at the) ford subsided before Abban, leaving (merely) dry stones. There were innumerable godly people with Abban at the time. “Take your way here,” said he. They did so, and Abban followed them, and a young lad with him, whom he did not notice; and the stream overwhelmed him. They did not miss the lad till they were at refection the next day. Abban went to the stream and raised the child from the river bed, without a wet spot on his hair or raiment.


One day Abban's shepherds were tending their flock, when they saw  150a wolves coming to them. “Let them alone, and tend them,” said Abban, and the wolves did so, and they it was that acted as his shepherds as long as he lived.


Cormac son of Diarmait, king of Úi Cennselaigh came to  p.9 ravage Camross, a monastery of Abban's. Some of his host went into Abban's kitchen, and carried out on to the green a bushel measure which was there, but they could not set it down, for their hands clave to it. The king and his host were frightened, and sent for Abban, and begged him to show mercy to them in the strait in which they were. Abban made the sign of the cross with his hand 6 over them, and the bushel fell from them; and the land round about the place was given to Abban, and Abban returned with the benediction of the country.


Night fell upon him, and it was cold and dark, and they could not move a step on the way. An angel came to meet them, with a bright taper in his hand, and he placed it in the hand of Abban; and Abban guided them by the taper till they reached their own monastery. He found the angel waiting for him there in the church, who took the taper from his hand, and they parted from one another.


One day Abban seeing a dumb man coming towards him to seek his help, made the sign of the cross in the name of Jesus on an apple which he had in his hand. “Eat this,” said he; the sick man did so, and was whole of every disease that he had.


Another day Abban saw a man who was paralysed, and wanting a hand and a foot. He entreated Abban for love and pity to help him. “Be whole,” said Abban, “in the name of the Trinity”; and at Abban's word he was (whole).


One day Abban saw a man who had been attacked by leprosy, who begged his help. “I entreat God to help thee,” said Abban; and God did so at the word of the saint.


There were two chiefs 7 in Abban's neighbourhood who were at variance with one another. They had arranged a day of battle  150b on a certain plain, where they were face to face. The tribes to which the chiefs belonged sent to Abban to come and help them. 8 He betook himself to “cross-vigil” 9 to God with a view to this; and he obtained his request, so that they could not wield their weapons or attack one another, but became peaceful at Abban's word.


There was a certain distinguished wright in Abban's neighbourhood, who used to execute work for every saint in his time. And he was blinded through the reproaches of the saints, owing to the high prices which he charged them, and the excessive wages (which he extorted). He was called Gobán. Abban went to ask him to build a monastery for him. He said that it was impossible for him  p.10 to do so, as he was blind. Abban said to him: “Thou shalt receive thy sight while thou art at the work, but it will depart when the work is finished.” This came true. And the name of God and of Abban was magnified thereby.


A dumb man came to Abban for his help. He said: “O Jesus, who didst once give speech to a brute beast, the ass, give utterance to this man,” said he. And it was done thereupon as he requested.


Now Abban's monks had many kine, and one of their herdsmen came to him and said that he had a parti-coloured cow, more beautiful than any earthly cattle, but it was barren, and had never yielded milk or calved since it was born. He thereupon blessed the cow, and it bore twin calves coloured like itself, and 10 vessels scarcely sufficed for its milk; and it continued so without abatement all Abban's lifetime, but failed afterwards.


Once on a time a congregation of monks in Abban's neighbourhood came to him to inquire as to their (future) life and (the place of) their resurrection, and to be taught and instructed by him. There were a hundred and forty clerks of them. Abban did as they requested, and thereupon they bade him farewell.

There is no “finit” here to the life of Abban. 1112

2. Life of Bairre of Cork

 p.11 122b

In this Life


Now my Bairre was of Connaught by race, of the descendants of Brian son of Eochaid, to speak precisely; to wit, Bairre son of Amairgen, son of Dubduibne, son of Art, son of Carthann, son of Fland, son of Ninnid, son of Brian, son of Eochaid Muigmedon. The race and stock of St. Bairre removed subsequently from the borders of Connaught, and occupied a possession and land at Achad Durbcon in the district of Muscraige Mitine.


There Amairgen, the father of Bairre, owned a townland. This Amairgen was a notable smith, chief smith to the king of Rathlenn at that time, Tigernach son of Aed Uargarb (cold-rough), son of Crimthann, son of Eochaid, son of Cas, son of Corc.


Now there was a beautiful female slave in the house of this king. 13 The king gave notice to his household that none of them should have intercourse with her. Amairgen did not hear this. The smith and the handmaid came together secretly; and their matter became known subsequently, for the handmaid conceived. After this the king Tigernach called the handmaid, and asked her by whom she was pregnant; 14 and she said that it was by Amairgen.


Then the king ordered that they should both be bound, Amairgen and the handmaid, and further ordered them to light a great fire, and cast them both into it. But God did not allow him to do this; for there came lightning and thunder, and heavy rain, so that they could not light the fire, because St. Bairre was dear to God, even before he was born. Then the infant spoke from his mother's womb, and said: “O King, do not this wicked deed, for thou wilt not be the better loved by God, though thou do it.” Then said the king to his household: “Wait a while, that we may see and know who is addressing us.”


Then 15 the lightning and thunder and rain ceased, and Amairgen and the handmaid were saved from being burned. And the handmaid bore the wondrous boy, 16 St. Bairre. Immediately after his birth he addressed the king, (saying) that his father and mother should be released to him. The king set them at liberty at his request, and surrendered himself and his seed to Bairre  áa for ever.


After this the child did not speak (again) till the proper time.  p.12 Amairgen and the handmaid afterwards went to Achad Durbcon, taking the little child with them. There the child was baptized. It was Mac Cuirb, bishop of Dal Modula of Corco Airchind Droma, who baptized him. The original name given to him was Loán; and he was nurtured in Achad Durbcon for the space of seven years.


Now there were three clerks of the men of Munster who were on pilgrimage in Leinster at this time. 17 They went in the course of a journey to visit their own country, and on their journey they came to the house of Amairgen, and saw the beautiful little lad in the house. Said the eldest of the three: “Fair is this little boy,” said he; “the grace of the Holy Spirit shines in his countenance; and it would be a pleasure to us to teach him.” “If it be your pleasure,” said Amairgen, “take him with you, and let him be taught.” The elder said: “We will not take him now, (but wait) till we come again on our way back into Leinster.”


Afterwards the same three came to the house of Amairgen in the time of summer, and took the boy with them. Now when they reached the hill called Muincille, that is Ros Coill, the little boy became thirsty, and cried, asking for a drink. The elder said to his servant: “Go to that doe there on the hill, and bring from her a drink for the boy.” The servant went, and milked a vessel full of milk from her, and it was given to the little boy.


Then said the elder: “The place in which God wrought this wonderful miracle for the boy, is a fit place for his instruction to commence, for his hair to be shorn, and his name to be changed.” And so it was done. The man who sheared him said: “Beautiful and fair (find) is the crest (barr) on Loán.” Said the elder: “Thou hast spoken well; for this shall be his name henceforth, Findbarr” 18 (Fair-crest).


This was the day on which Brendan of Birr came to Sliab Muincille, and he had reached the place where Brendan's crosses stand to-day. His chariot bounded three times under him, and he was thrown out of it. And he wept greatly, and smiled afterwards. And his household asked him why he wept first, and laughed afterwards. “A little lad has come here to-day,” (said he), “for whom God has wrought a great miracle. This is the reason why I was  123b sad.”


“I had made request to God for three estates in Desmond that they might serve my successor after me, to wit from the Blackwater to the Lee, from the Lee to the Bandon and Bearhaven, from the Bandon to Cape Clear. And God did not grant them me; but God has given them to serve Bairre for ever.” The three clerks above mentioned afterwards came into the district of Leinster, and Bairre with them. And it was he who marked out the church of Mac  p.13 Cathail (Kilmacahill) in Gowran Pass. And there Bairre read his psalms.


Once Bairre was reading his psalms, and there came a heavy fall of snow, so that there was a hood of snow round the hut in which Bairre was doing his lesson. Bairre said to his tutor: “I should like this hood to remain around my hut, till I shall have finished my psalms.” God did so; for the snow melted from the earth, but the hood of snow remained round the hut till Bairre had finished his psalms.


Once a certain rich man, Fidach by name, came where Bairre was, to Lochan, to take him (Lochan) as his confessor. Lochan said to Fidach: “Kneel to that little lad there, to Bairre.” Fidach said: “I think it a mean thing to kneel to him.” Said Lochan to Fidach: “If I take him as confessor, wilt thou take him (also)?” Fidach said that he would. Then the clerk knelt to Bairre, and Fidach knelt (also). And Lochan offered his church to God and to Bairre; and Fidach offered [himself] and his descendants [to him.] Bairre said to his tutor: “Receive from me this man and his descendants, in return for teaching me my psalms.” 19


After this Bairre set out to go to Munster. He came to the place in Ossory where Cul Caissine stands to-day. He marked out the church, and it was offered to him for ever. 20


After this Bairre came to Aghaboe, and he first settled there. Later on came Cainnech 21 Mac Ua Dalann to Bairre, and begged him to relinquish the place to him. “What shall I have therefore?” 22 said Bairre. “Thou shalt have  124a good therefore, O Bairre,” said Cainnech; “the place in which thou shalt settle, and in which thy relics shall be, shall have continually abundance of learning and prosperity and honour in return for the honour which thou  p.14 showest to me.”


“What else?” said Bairre. “Thou shalt have,” said Cainnech, “heaven for every one of thy successors.” “Methinks thou hast said this too soon,” said Bairre, “it is likely that they will be remiss, [lit. let go], and get it 23 because of this word.” Cainnech said: “When thy successor and representative dies, by the gift of the heavenly King, he shall not depart without confession.” They marked out the church and the cemetery; and Bairre said: “Few will be the sons of perdition in this church.” Cainnech said: “Not many will be the sons of perdition in thy cemetery.”


After this Bairre came to Bishop Mac Cuirb in Cliu. This Mac Cuirb was a notable man, and fellow-pupil to David of Cell Muine, both of them being pupils of Gregory of Rome. When then Bairre came to Bishop Mac Cuirb, the king, Fachtna Fergach 24 (i. e. the Wrathful) the elder, son of Caelbad, of Muscraige Breogan, addressed him, and said to him: “I want you to bless my two children, my blind son and my dumb daughter.” Bairre blessed them both, and they were healed, to wit the sight of the son, and the speech of the daughter.


As they were conversing 25 together, Bairre and the king, they heard a great lamentation. “What is this?” said Bairre. The king said: “My wife has just died.” Said Bairre to the king: “God is able to raise her from the dead.” After this Bairre blessed water, 26 and they washed the queen with it, and she arose from death, as if she were rising from sleep.


As they were talking together, Bairre and the king, 27 the king said: “Why, O Bairre, dost thou not do miracles in our presence as well?” Bairre said: “God is able to do them, if it be His pleasure.” It was then just the time of spring. 28 Nevertheless there fell 29 ripe nuts from the hazel tree under which they were, so that their bosoms were full of the nuts. Then the king Fachtna offered Rath Airtenn (or Airrtad) to Bairre in perpetuity.


After this Bairre read the book of Matthew and the book of the Apostles  124b with Bishop Mac Cuirb. And Bishop Mac Cuirb demanded of Bairre the fee for his instruction. Bairre said: “What fee dost thou demand?” Bishop Mac Cuirb said: “This is my wish, that the resurrection of us both may be in the same place in the Day of Judgement.” Said Bairre: “Thou shalt have thy wish, for in the same place (with me) shalt thou be buried, and we shall have our resurrection.”


After this Bairre dwelt on Loch Irce, in Edergole to the  p.15 east of the lough. 30 And this was the school which Bairre had on the lough: Eolang his tutor, 31 Colman of Daire Duncon, 32 and Baichine and Nesan, and Garban son of Findbarr, and Talmach, and Finnchad of Donaghmore, and Fachtna of Ria, and Fachtna of Ros Ailithir, Luicer and Caman and Loichine of Achad Airaird, Cairine and Finntan and Eothuile who are in Ros Caerach, Grellan in Druim Draighnighe, and Cáelchú and Mogenna, and Modimócc, and Santan, and Luiger son of Colum. All these east of the lough. 33 And this was the school which Bairre had on the lough: Eolang his tutor, 34 Colman of Daire Duncon, 35 and Baichine and Nesan, and Garban son of Findbarr, and Talmach, and Finnchad of Donaghmore, and Fachtna of Ria, and Fachtna of Ros Ailithir, Luicer and Caman and Loichine of Achad Airaird, Cairine and Finntan and Eothuile who are in Ros Caerach, Grellan in Druim Draighnighe, and Cáelchú and Mogenna, and Modimócc, and Santan, and Luiger son of Colum. All these offered their churches to God and to Bairre in perpetuity.


These also were with him in Edergole: Bairre's own sister, and Crothru daughter of Conall, and three daughters of Mac Carthainn, and Coch a nun of Ross Banagher, and Moshillan of Rathmore, and Scothnat of Cluain Bec, and Lasar of Achad Durbcon, and three daughters of Lugaid, Dune, 36 and Er, and Brigit of Airnaide. All these offered their churches to God and to Bairre in perpetuity.


Bairnech Mór in the district of Muscraige Mitaine, Iuran the Briton first settled there, and Nathi and Bróccán. They offered their church, Bairnech Mór, to Bairre; and Bairre left with them a reliquary 37 and the four books of the Gospel. Lugaid son of Fintan of Dal Modúla of Airther Cliach was the first to occupy Cenna Dromma in Carn Tigernaigh in the district of Fermoy; he offered his church to Bairre, and he received from Bairre an offertorium of white bronze. Baetan son of Eogan occupied Glenn Cáin in the district of Úi Luigdech of Eile, and Modimócc also, a pupil of Bairre; and these two were bishops. They both offered their church, Glenn Cáin, to Bairre in full possession.  125a Druim Eidnech in the district of the Úi Luigdech of Eile was occupied by Sáran. He offered his church to Bairre, and received from Bairre his bronze reliquary containing the Host. 38


Goban Corr (?the dwarf) settled on Fán Lopaist, and offered his church to Bairre, and Bairre gave him an offertorium of silver and an altar-chalice of gold. Fintan and Domangen occupied Cluain Fota, and Tulach Min, and they offered their church to Bairre. Bairre gave them an offertorium and altar-chalice of glass. Bairre performed a wonderful miracle there; he healed a boy of blindness and [a girl] of dumbness, and healed a leper so that he was whole. Brogan son of Senan 39 was a pupil of Bairre, and he did three lessons daily with Bairre till orders were conferred upon him. He offered himself and his church, Clúain Cárnai, to Bairre in perpetuity.


Afterwards Bairre, with an angel guiding him, came to his own district, and built the church of Achad Durbcon. There is a cave there called Cúas Barrai (Bairre's Cave), and a fair pool beside it, from which was brought every night to Bairre a salmon caught in a net of a single mesh. The angel said to Bairre, “Not here shall be thy resurrection.”


After this Bairre crossed the river 40 to Cell na Cluaine, and built a church there, and remained in it some time, till two pupils of Ruadan [of Lothra] came to him, Cormac and Buichin, 41 who had asked of Ruadan a place for themselves. Ruadan said to them: “Go with my blessing, and the place where its tongue shall strike your bell, and in which the strap of your book-wallet shall break, there will be your resurrection.”


When they came to Bairre to Cel na Cluaine all these things befell them according to the word of Ruadan. They were much cast down thereat, for they did not think that the church would be given up to them. Bairre said to them: “Be not sad nor downcast; I give this church and all its treasures to you and to God.” So then Bairre built twelve churches before he came to Cork, and gave them all up out of humility and the greatness of his charity.


 125bAfterwards the angel guided Bairre from Cell na Cluaine to the place where Cork stands to-day, and said to him: “Abide here, for here shall be thy haven of resurrection.” Bairre then kept a fast of three days in this place, when there came to him Aed son of Comgall of the Úi mic Ciair, seeking a cow that had wandered away to drop her calf; and he found her with the clerks.


Aed asked them: “What has brought you here?” Bairre answered: “We are seeking a place in which we may pray God for ourselves, and for the man who shall give it to us.” Aed said: “I give thee this place, and the cow which God has led to thee there.” After this came Aed son of Miandach, and offered to Bairre Foithrib Aeda (Aed's Wood) in Magh Tuath, and 42 his own service and that of his offspring. And Aed came afterwards, and offered himself and his offspring to Bairre in perpetuity.


After this the angel of God came to attend on him, and said to him: “Is it thy will to remain here?” Said Bairre: “Yes, if it be God's will.” The angel said: “If thou remain here, fewer will be the sons of life who will go to heaven hence. Go a little further to the place to the east of thee where there are many waters, and remain there by the counsel of the Lord, and many will be the sages and sons of life of that place (who will go) to heaven.”


The angel then went before him to the place appointed him by God; and the angel marked out the church and blessed it; and Bairre remained in it afterwards.


Bairre went after this to Rome 43 to receive episcopal orders together with Eolang, and Maedoc of Ferns, and David of Cell Muine, and twelve monks with them. Now Gregory was successor of Peter at that time. So when Gregory lifted up his hand over Bairre's head to read (the service of) orders over him a flame came from heaven on to his hand, and Gregory said to Bairre, “Go home, and the Lord himself will read (the service of) episcopal orders over thee.”


And thus it was fulfilled; for Bairre came to his own church, and the Lord Himself read (the service of) episcopal orders over him at the  126a cross in front of the church, where his remains were afterwards buried; and oil flowed abundantly out of the earth there, so that it rose over his shoes, and over the shoes of the elders who were with him. 44 Then Bairre with his elders blessed the church and the cemetery, and they said (that there would be) abundance of wisdom continually in Cork.


After this Bairre remained in Cork and had with him there a great school of saints; Fachtna occupied Cell Ria, Eltin son of Cobthach occupied Cell na h-Indsi; Fergus of Fennor occupied Fennor of the kings, Condire son of Fortchern occupied Tulach Ratha. Bishop Libair occupied Cell Ia; Bishop Sinell occupied Cluain Bruices. Fingin and Trian occupied Dcmnach Mor of Mitaine. Mocholmoc son of Grillen settled at Ross Ailithir, and Fachtna son of Mongach also. Bishop Colman occupied Cenn Eich; Bishops Muadan and Cairpre occupied Cell Muadain. All these offered their churches to God and to Bairre. 45


Bishop Mac Cuirb said to Bairre: “If my body is the first to go under the ground here, and my soul goes [forthwith] to heaven, I will not allow any one who dies within the circuit of Cork 46 to go to hell.” And afterwards the corpse of Bishop Mac Cuirb was the first to go under the soil of Cork.


Bairre was much concerned at being without a confessor after the death of his elder. So he went afterwards to visit Eolang; and God revealed to Eolang that Bairre was coming to him. And he said to his (monastic) family: “Noble guests will come to us to-day, and you must wait upon them in respect of refection and bathing.”


Presently Bairre arrived, and Eolang's hospitaller met him, and  p.18 welcomed him, and said: “The elder is fain of your coming; let (your raiment) be taken from you, and bathe yourselves.” Said Bairre: “We would first address the elder.” The hospitaller went to confer with Eolang, and told him Bairre's answer. Eolang said: “Let Bairre bathe first, and we will converse afterwards. Let him go to his monastery however to-morrow, and I will come to him at the end of a week.”


And this was fulfilled;  126b for Eolang came to Cork at the end of a week, and knelt forthwith to Bairre, and said as follows: “I offer to thee my church, my body, and my soul.” Then Bairre wept, and said: “This was not my thought, but that it would be I that would offer my church to thee.” Eolang said: “Let it be as I say that it shall be; for this is the will of God. And thou art dear to God, and thou art greater than I. But I ask of thee a guerdon for my offering, that our resurrection may be in the same place.” Said Bairre: “This shall be thine; but I am still troubled about the confessorship.” Said Eolang: “Thou shalt receive to thyself a confessor worthy of thee at my hand to-day.”


And this was fulfilled; for Eolang placed Bairre's hand in the hand of the Lord Himself by Eolang's monument in the presence of angels and archangels; and he said: “O Lord, take to Thee this just man.” And the Lord then took to Him the hand of Bairre (leading him) to heaven. But Eolang said: “O Lord, take not Bairre from me now, till the time of his release from the body come.” The Lord then released the hand of Bairre. And from that day no one could look upon his hand because of its radiance; therefore he used to wear a glove on his hand continually. 47


It occurred to Bairre to seek some additional relics for his cemetery. Then an angel came to converse with him, and said to him: “Go up to-morrow to the district of the Úi Crimthann,and there are relics of bishops there.” Bairre went on the morrow to Disert Mor. And he saw there a company carrying to burial the relics which he had come to seek. “Well then,” said Bairre to Fiama, son of Eogan, “what art thou doing there?” “This,” said Fiama, “an angel of God came to converse with me last night, and told me to go for these relics to the place in which they were; and so I have taken them therefrom.”


“That is the business which has brought me from my house,” said Bairre. “What shall be done in the matter then?” said Fiama. “Unquestionably the relics shall be left to thee,” said Bairre. “That is good,”  127a said Fiama, “and thou shalt have guerdon therefor; this place shall be thine with its relics from now  p.19 till doom.” “I accept,” said Bairre, “the place will be good, and its coarb will be honourable in the earth.” For this Fiama merited to administer the body of Christ to Bairre in the day of his death.


Too numerous to recount or narrate are the miracles and mighty works which God wrought for St. Bairre. For no one would be able to narrate them all, unless he himself or an angel of God should come to relate them. Still, this little of them may suffice as an illustration of his inner life and his daily conversation, his lowliness, his obedience, his compassion, his sweetness, his patience and gentleness, his love and pity and readiness to forgive, his fasting and abstinence, his earnest prayer, his patient waiting, and his mind continually intent on God. No one can tell it unless he himself should come or an angel of God to tell it.


For there were many excellences in this Bairre; he was a just man with transparency of nature like a patriarch; he was a true pilgrim like Abraham; he was compassionate, simple, and forgiving of heart like Moses; he was a laudable and choice psalmist like David; he was a treasury of wisdom and knowledge like Solomon son of David; he was a chosen vessel to proclaim righteousness, like Paul the apostle; he was a man full of the grace and favour of the Holy Spirit, like the youth John. He was a lion for strength and power; he was a king for dignity and distinction, to free and to enslave, to kill and to make alive, to bind and to loose. He was a serpent for cunning and wisdom in everything good; he was a dove in gentleness and simplicity [in the face of all evil].


He was a fair garden full of herbs of virtue. He was the crystal fountain whereby were washed away the sins of the people whom God entrusted to him to be bettered by the transparence of his teaching. He was also the heavenly cloud wherewith was fructified the ground of the Church, that is, the souls of the righteous with the drops of his peaceful and virtuous teaching. He was the golden lamp lighted by the Holy Spirit, from which flee darkness and sin in the house of the Lord, that is, in the Church. He was  127b the shining fire with heat to warm and kindle love in the hearts of the sons of life. He was, too, the ever-victorious bark which conveyed the hosts of many peoples across the storms of the world to the shore of the heavenly Church. He was the consecrated ensign of the heavenly King, that made peace and concord between God and man.


He was the high-steward and most noble overseer whom the High King of heaven sent to exact the tribute of virtues and good deeds from the clans of the Gael. He was the precious stone with which the heavenly palace was adorned. He was the crystal vessel wherewith was distributed the wine of the word of God to the many peoples who follow it. He was the rich prosperous  p.20 high husbandman of wisdom and knowledge who paid the righteous poor with the abundance of his teaching. He was a branch of the true vine, that is Christ, to satisfy and bring life to the world. He was the true leech who healed sicknesses and diseases of the body and soul of every believer in the Church. Many then were the excellences of St. Bairre, so that a man cannot recount them by reason of their number.


There are seven evident miracles here, which God granted to Bairre beyond all other saints, to wit, his speaking before his birth in the womb of his mother; his speaking clearly a second time immediately after his birth before the proper time; the offering made to him before his baptism; miracles done for him without his pleading for them; angels conducting him and accompanying him in every way that he went; Eolang placing his hand in the hand of God; and the sun (shining) twelve days after his death without being darkened by clouds; and a golden ladder in his church awaiting the holy souls (who were to mount) by it to heaven, as was seen therein by Fursa the ascetic.


When then the death day arrived of the man in whom were all these many excellences, to wit, St. Bairre, after he had healed the blind and the leper, the lame, the deaf and the dumb, and other sick folk of every kind, after founding many churches and  128a cells and monasteries for God, and after ordaining in them bishops, and priests, and people of every other grade, for unction, confirmation, consecration, and benediction of tribes and races, for baptism and communion, and confession, and instruction, and maintenance of the faith and belief in those districts continually, Bairre then went to Cell na Cluaine to visit Cormac and Baithine.


Fiama also came to meet him to Cell na Cluaine, and they blessed each other as holy brethren; and Bairre said to them: “It is time for me to be released from the prison of the body, and to go to the heavenly King who is calling me to Him now.” After this Bairre took the sacrifice there from the hand of Fiama, and sent forth his spirit to heaven by the cross in the middle of Cell na Cluaine.


After this his monks and disciples and the synod of the churches of Desmond came to wake and honour the body of their master, St. Bairre, and bear it with them to the place of his resurrection, Cork.


This day—the day of St. Bairre's death—was prolonged to the elders. God did not allow the sun to go beneath the earth for twelve days afterwards, that is so long as the synods of the churches of Desmond were busied about the body of their master with hymns and psalms, and Masses and recitation of hours. Then the angels of  p.21 heaven came to meet his soul and carried it with them with honour and reverence to heaven, where he shines like the sun in the company of patriarchs and prophets, in the company of the apostles and disciples of Jesus, in the company of the nine heavenly orders who sinned not, in the company of the divinity and the humanity of the Son of God, in the company that is higher than any company, the company of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 48 Amen. It endeth.

51. Colophon

The poor friar Michael O'Clery copied this life of Bairre at Cork in the convent of the brethren from a vellum book belonging to Domnall O Duinnín (Donald Dinneen) June 24, 1629.4950

3. The Life of Berach

 p.22 71a

In this Life


Ego sitienti, etc., i. e. to him who desires righteousness I will give freely of the fount of living water. Qui uicerit, etc., i. e. to him who defeats (the enemy), to him shall these things be given. Et ero, etc., i. e. and I will be God to him. Et ille, etc., and he shall be a son to me. Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, the Lord of all creation, one of the three Persons of the Deity, the Mediator between the family of heaven and earth, the Saviour of the human race, it is He who said these words to show the great good which He bestows on His saints and righteous men, and on all those who bear great love to Him in the Church on earth.


And John the son of Zebedee, the heir of virginity, one of the twelve apostles whom Jesus chose to His apostleship, one of the four who wrote the gospel of the Lord, the man who sucked the fountain of true wisdom from the breast of the Saviour, he it was who wrote these words, and left the memorial of them with the Church to the end of the world, and says in this passage: Ego, etc. To him who desires righteousness, I will give freely of the fount of living water.


Now the context of these words is the passage in John contiguous to the place in which Jesus says in words which precede the text: Ego sum alpha, etc., i. e. I am the beginning of all creatures, and I am the end. So that (following) in the track of his Master Jesus (he says): Ego sitienti, etc. (repetition as above).  71b


It is from this fount then, that is from Jesus Christ, who is the fount of true wisdom, that all the saints were filled with the grace of wisdom and prophecy, with mighty works and miracles, with powers unspeakable in driving away demons and heretics, in trampling down persecution and idolatry, and the children of perdition, as he was filled whose festival and commemoration fall at this time and season, namely the shining flame, the bright lamp, the brilliant sheen, the precious jewel, and the fruitful bough with shoots of virtues, Berach son of Nemhnall, son of Nemargen, son of Fintan, son of Mal, son of Dobtha, son of Aengus, son of Erc the Red, son of Brian, son of Eochaid Muigmedon. And Finmaith daughter of Carthach, sister of Fraech the Presbyter, was Berach's mother. And hereafter are related some of the mighty works and miracles of this same St. Berach.


Great then was the honour and distinction which God gave  p.23 to St. Berach, as was shown by the prophecy which Patrick prophesied when preaching to the men of Connaught, and baptizing them. Now Patrick chanced to come to the house of Dobtha the son of Aengus; and Dobtha gave great welcome to Patrick, as did his wife and children.


Then his wife told Dobtha to go and hunt.  72a So Dobtha went a-hunting with his sons. And the Lord sent three stags and a wild pig to Dobtha and his sons forthwith. And they took them with them to their house where Patrick was with his clerks.


And when the day was ended, and the darkness of night came on, no lamp or candle could be found in the fort or dwelling of Dobtha by (the light of) which the game might be cut up and dressed. And Dobtha and his household were sad thereat. And then Patrick worked a great miracle; the sun shone back across the western colure, and gave light to the men of Erin; and so Dobtha and his household prepared the supper for the clerks; and the clerks and Dobtha with his household ate the supper, and gave thanks to God, and greatly praised the Lord, both clerks and laymen. And from this (the place) is still called Achad Gréine (the field of the sun).


Now when the cauldron was on the fire, and the sons of Dobtha were around the fire, then Dobtha arose to kindle the fire, and he set light to it forthwith. Then said Patrick to Dobtha: “There shall not be one headship of thy own seed over thy race till doom.” “That is a pity, O clerk,” said Benén, “for it is well that Dobtha did what he has done by way of service to us.” Then said Patrick that every noble layman of his seed should be a head and chief by reason of his substance, and that it was because of the number of their good laymen that they would not be  72b under a single head.


So on the morrow Patrick preached to Dobtha the Catholic faith from the Incarnation of the Son of God to His Resurrection. When the preaching was over, Dobtha said to Patrick: “Let me now be baptized, and my household.” “Not so”, said Patrick. “Why so?” said Dobtha. “A son who shall be born of the fourth man of the fruit of thy loins at the end of sixty years,” said Patrick, “he it is who shall baptize thee, and all Erin and Alba shall be full of his fame, and of his mighty deeds and miracles. He will be a virulent serpent, a fearful terrible burning flash of lightning, he will be a wave of doom to slay, burn, and drown persecutors; he will be submissive, lowly, gentle, forgiving, loving to the household of the Lord; he will be a chosen golden vessel, full of wisdom and honour and purity, and of all virtues and good deeds.”


Although Dobtha was fain of this prophecy, he was sorrowful and murmured greatly against Patrick. Patrick said to Dobtha: “Murmuring shall follow thee till doom.” Benén said to Patrick: “It was with good intent towards thee, that  p.24 Dobtha murmured.” Patrick said: “If it be a warrior (layman) that the murmur helps (there shall be) pre-eminence of valour on him; if a woman, prosperity of storehouse; if a clerk, pre-eminence of learning and devotion. And moreover, Dobtha shall not depart this life till the child of promise have baptized him.” Great was Dobtha's joy thereat, and it is from this murmur that the murmur of Berach's household (monastery) is derived to-day; and it is better and better that it turns out for them.


Patrick then left many good bequests to Dobtha and his descendants. He left to them in the  73a near future pre-eminence of hospitality and prosperity on their women, pre-eminence of valour on their warriors, pre-eminence of hospitality and asceticism and learning on their clerks, pre-eminence of dutiful sons and daughters and foster-children, if only they would do the will of the child of promise; and he left (to them) that there would be distinguished laymen and clerics of their seed till doom.


Then said Dobtha to Patrick: “What services 51 (or dues) leavest thou to this child?” Patrick said: “A log from every fire about him on his fire; and a log from my fire on his fire”; that is Id the son of Aengus, for it was Patrick who baptized Id; and he left this to Berach as a beginning of services. 52Then Patrick ordained that it should be in the meadow on the brink of the lake that the son of promise should build his city (monastery). And he ordered that its sanctuary ground should be all that lies between the bog and the lake, that is the plain with its wooded meadows and boggy oak-groves. And he left (as a bequest) that there should be prosperity in this city, and a living fire in it to the end of the world; and that this should be one of the three last fires that would remain in the west of the world (Ireland).


Then said Dobtha: “Difficult is the place of abode.” Patrick said: “That which is difficult with men, is easy with God; and His care will accompany the child, and His saints will be united in protecting his city; and his city (monastery) will be the head of many cities; and whoever shall resist this child shall be deprived of heaven and earth, as shall be his children and his posterity, unless he repent speedily.”


Patrick bade farewell to Dobtha then, and left a blessing on him, and on his children, and on his posterity, and on his land, and on his ground, and on the child of promise above all,  73b and with all, and after all. And he proceeded on his tour of preaching.


Dobtha then lived a life of distinction to the end of sixty years. He had a son named Mál, whose son was Fintan, whose son was Nemhnall. It was this Nemhnall who took to wife Finmaith, the daughter of Carthach. And she at the end of sixty years from  p.25 the prophecy, bore to Nemhnall this child of whom Patrick prophesied, namely St. Berach.


Now St. Berach was born in the house of his mother's brother, Fraech the Presbyter, son of Carthach, in Gort na Luachra (the Close of the Rushes), near Cluain Conmaicne. And in that place there is (now) a mother-church and a cross, and the stone on which St. Berach was born. And Presbyter Fraech subsequently offered this estate to Berach. Presbyter Fraech too it was who baptized St. Berach, and fostered him till he was old enough to study. Now Berach's baptismal name was Fintan, as the learned man said in the verse:

  1. Fintan a man pre-eminent, acute,
    Though he were proud at Cluain Coirpthe
    (Yet) he suffered, &c.
Berach (pointed, acute) however was the name he acquired by reason of his acuteness and the sharpness of his mighty works and miracles.


Finmaith moreover bore a daughter to Nemhnall, the holy, noble, and honourable virgin Midabair. She is the patron of Buimlinn (lit. she blessed at B.). And Berach was the one person in all the world who was dearest to Presbyter Fraech of all who ever received human nature, save Christ alone. And it was for this reason that Presbyter Fraech gave (him) the three blessings which Columcille had given to himself, on his dutiful sons, and nephews, and foster-children because of Berach.


When St. Berach had completed seven years, he was taken to Daigh mac Cairill to study; and he learned the wisdom of the Son of God,  74a so that he became a sage, and the grace of God accompanied him day by day increasingly in mighty works and miracles. And he did service to his tutor Daigh son of Cairell.


On one occasion distinguished guests came to Daigh, and neither the monks nor the servants were in the monastery at the time, nor any one else but Daigh and Berach only. And Berach waited on the guests and washed their feet. And there were no provisions in the monastery except two measures of wheat. And Berach was bidden to go to the mill in Magh Muirthemne, to grind these two measures. And Berach proceeded to the mill on this service.


Then did the Lord perform very mighty works and miracles through Berach; that is to say, there was a certain woman at the mill, and a boy with her; and he was the son of a man of good family, of the Conaille Muirthemne, and the mill and the land on which it stood belonged to his father. And the woman had a bag of oats (being ground) in the mill, and Berach said to the woman: “Stop  p.26 the mill, and take away thy corn till this small amount be ground, for distinguished guests are waiting for us, and they have no food.”


But not only did the woman refuse to let Berach grind his corn, but reproached him grievously, and reproached (also) the elder from whom he came. Berach arose quickly and put his corn into the hopper of the mill, and the woman and Berach were working the mill together, for neither of them would give it up to the other. Then the divine powers separated the wheatmeal to one side of the mill, and the oatmeal to the other side.


Then the boy fell into the millpond and was drowned; and a sudden plague came upon the woman, and her soul and her body parted asunder. The other persons then that were at the mill arose, and the household of the woman and of the boy who had died came, and were for killing Berach. Then their feet and hands dried up and withered, and their strength was taken from them, so that no one of them was stronger than a woman in child-bed.


News of this reached the father of the boy, and he came and submitted unconditionally to Berach. He prostrated himself at his feet, and wept bitterly. Berach healed his household, and brought to life again the boy and the woman. Then the father of the child offered his mill to Berach and the place with it. So this is Raen Beraigh (Berach's Road) in Magh Muirthemne and the Mill Eilend. So the name of God and of St. Berach was magnified through these mighty deeds and miracles.


Afterwards Berach went to Inis Cáen, and his ground corn with him. And the guests and the monks and the poor were satisfied (therewith). The mighty deeds and miracles which Berach did were revealed to Daigh. Then said Daigh to Berach: “O Son, thou shalt not be nurtured here any longer for the multitude of thy miracles and mighty deeds; but go some other way.” And Daigh gave to Berach the Bachall Gerr (short pastoral staff), and gave him a little bell, the last (lit. the remains) of a hundred and forty-seven relics; and Daigh left the graces of all these relics on the little bell, and this is Berach's bell (which is preserved) to this day in Glendalough. Daigh blessed Berach greatly and sent him to Coemgen.


Berach therefore proceeded across Magh Muirthemne  75a into Crich Rois across the Boyne in Bregha. At that time a great feast was being prepared at the house of the king of Bregha for the king of Tara. Berach came to the place where the feast was, and went into the banqueting hall. There were fifty vats of beer in the banqueting hall, settling. Berach asked a drink of the steward of the liquor, and it was refused him. Berach said: “The feast would not have been the less, though a drink were given to one of the Lord's household.”


He went on his way, and forthwith the king of  p.27 Tara arrived at (the scene of) the feast. Straightway the king said: “Let a taste of the liquor be brought to us.” They went into the hall where the vats were, and there was not found one drink for the king in the fifty vats, and no trace of the liquor was found in any of the vats, nor on the floor, nor in any vessel in the hall; and this was reported to the king. And the king asked who had touched it; and the steward of the liquor said that it was impossible (that any one could have done so); “but there did come to us into the hall a student with a little bell and staff, and asked for a drink in the name of the Lord, and it was refused him; and he went away in sadness.”


Said the king: “He it is who has ruined the feast. Take horses and go after him quickly, wheresoever he be overtaken. And let no violence be done to him, but let him be adjured by the name of the Lord, and he will come back.” This was done, and Berach came back, and the king prostrated himself before him, and gave him his full desire; and Berach went to the banqueting hall and  75b blessed the vats, and made the sign of the cross with the bell and staff over the vats, and they were filled forthwith with excellent liquor. The name of God and of St. Berach was magnified through this mighty work and miracle.


Then the king offered the place with its district and land to the Lord and to Berach; and this is Disert Beraigh (Berach's Hermitage) in Bregha. And he gave his own suit, and a suit from every king of Erin after him till doom every third year, and a scruple from every city of Clann Colmain every third year thenceforth till doom.


After this Berach proceeded into Leinster to Glendalough, and went into the guest-house; and his feet were washed there. At this time Coemgen's cook had died. Coemgen was troubled thereat, for he did not know who would be fit to superintend the monks' refection. And the angel said to him that he should entrust the task of preparing it night by night to the guests, till God should grant him some one suitable for it. And thus it was done by Coemgen; and that night the duty was entrusted to Berach. And Berach divided the refection in two, and prepared one-half that night; and the monks were much better served that night than any night in the year.


The next night the refection of the monks was entrusted to Berach to prepare. Then said Berach to the attendant: “Here is the half of last night's refection ready for the monks; take it with thee.” And he did so. And though (the refection) was good the first night, it was better far the last night.


 76a So on the morrow St. Berach was taken to Coemgen. Coemgen gave him welcome, and asked him whether he were willing to superintend the monks' refection. And Berach said that he would do anything which Coemgen  p.28 enjoined him. And he undertook to superintend the monks' refection. And Coemgen gave great thanks to the Lord for the good success which he gave to the monks' refection through the grace of Berach. So that it was of this that Coemgen said:

  1. Better than any refection is moderation,
    When one comes to eat;
    Better is pain than the abundance
    Which obtains eternal destruction.


At this time there were many legions of demons in Glendalough fighting against Coemgen and his monks, and they caused trembling and terror to weak men, and hurt them, and caused plagues and many sicknesses in the glen; and they could not be cast out till Berach came. Then Berach went round the city (monastery), and rang his bell, and sang maledictory psalms against the demons, and cast them out of the glen. And it was of this the poet sang:

  1. The little bell of Berach, lasting the treasure,
    Does battle against a perverse hundred;
    It was heard as far as Ferns of the hundreds;
    It chased demons from its sacred path.
And hence it is that the bell of Berach is carried daily round Glendalough and no power of demons, nor plague, nor punishment shall be there so long as Berach's bell shall be therein. And the name of God and of Berach was magnified through this mighty work.


Coemgen had a foster-child, Faelan son of Colman, a son of the king of Leinster;  76band the boy was crying to the clerk, that is to Coemgen, wanting milk; and this was a difficulty to Coemgen. And as he was speaking, Berach sained the mountain and said: “Let the doe with her fawn that is on the mountain come hither.” And the doe came at once with her fawn following her; and she was milked every day for Faelan.


One day, however, there came a wolf, and killed the doe's fawn and ate it; and the doe did not give her milk without the fawn. Coemgen was troubled at this. So Berach sained the mountain, and said: “Let the animal who did the disservice, do service.” Thereupon the wolf came and settled himself on his paws before the doe; and the doe licked the wolf, and gave her milk at (the sight of) him. And the wolf would come at every (milking) time; and the doe would be milked in his presence.


On one occasion in the winter Faelan was crying, and asking Coemgen for sorrel. This was a difficulty with Coemgen, and he consulted Berach about it. Berach sained a rock near the monastery on the top of the mountain, and abundance of sorrel grew up through it, and this was given to Faelan. And sorrel is still found  p.29 every winter on the top of the rock, and will be found till doom, as a sign of this great miracle.


On another occasion Berach and Faelan were passing a beautiful willow-tree which is in Glendalough. And Faelan cried, and asked for apples to be given him  77a off the willow-tree. “God is able to do even that,” said Berach; and he sained the willow-tree, and it produced a heavy crop of apples; and some of the apples were given to Faelan. And whenever the fruit trees bear fruit, there is still a heavy crop of fruit on the willow, and so it will be till doom, as a sign of this great miracle.


But when Cainech, the step-mother of Faelan, heard that Faelan was a child of special promise, she was seized with envy and jealousy of him; for she feared—what afterwards came about—that the kingdom would be conferred on Faelan to the exclusion of her own children. She came (therefore) with her band of witches (lit. women of power) to Glendalough, to ply druidism, and (magic) craft, and paganism, and diabolic science upon the boy to destroy him.


And an angel revealed this to Coemgen; and Coemgen bade Berach go and stop these devilish powers; and Berach went on this errand. And he saw Cainech on the summit of the mountain, worshipping the devil, and practising druidism. And Berach made prostrations and prayers, and said to Cainech and her band of women: “Get you under the earth.” The earth forthwith swallowed up Cainech and her band of women; and therefore (the place) is called Cainech's Swamp in Glendalough. And on her head the dogs of the monastery void their excrement from that time forth till doom.


After this Berach came to where Coemgen was; and Coemgen asked him what had befallen him and Cainech. Then said Berach to Coemgen:

  1. Thou didst send Cainech, O glorious believing clerk,
    With her pernicious crew, down under the grassy (lit. hairy) earth.
 77b So in this way Faelan was delivered, and Cainech was overcome by the grace of God and Berach and Coemgen.


One night the monks were in the refectory asking for hot water. Berach put a stone for every monk on the fire to heat the water; and he put on two extra stones. Coemgen asked the meaning of the (extra) stones. Berach said: “Two monks are on their way here (who are included) in this refection reckoning, and these two stones will be wanted to heat water for them.” And the water was made hot, and a stone for each monk  p.30 was put into the water.


And the two (other) stones were burning in the fire. Coemgen said: “Take down the stones”; and Berach did not take them. A second time Coemgen ordered the stones to be taken out of the fire; and Berach did not take them. A third time Coemgen repeated the same thing. Thereupon came two monks from distant lands attracted by the fame of Coemgen (lit. to seek the fame of C.); and their feet were washed, and the hot water was given to them, and the two stones were put into it for them. And Coemgen admired Berach greatly for this.


Too many to number or relate are the mighty works and miracles which Berach did in Glendalough. Seven years did he serve Coemgen. Coemgen went with Berach to Bishop Etcen. And Bishop Etcen conferred orders upon Berach, and they made an agreement and covenant together, to wit, Bishop Etcen and Berach.


After this Coemgen and Berach proceeded to Glendalough. And every time that Berach attempted to go  78a to his own land to fulfil the word of Patrick, Coemgen and his monks detained him. So an angel appeared to Coemgen one night, and said: “It is full time for Berach to go to his land to fulfil the word of Patrick.” And Coemgen gave permission to Berach to go to his land; and they afterwards made a firm agreement, Berach and Coemgen. And Coemgen spoke this verse:

  1. The monks of Berach, welcome are they to me,
    Whether young or old;
    Though they come to me, men, women and children,
    I will not go to heaven till they come.


Berach left (as a legacy) good institutions in Glendalough. He left pre-eminence of learning and devotion therein; he left freedom from plague and punishment therein, as long as his own bell should be there; and he left the hospitality of the holder of a ploughland with the hospitaller there, on condition that he wash his hands from the (River) Casan. Hence the poet said:

  1. Berach the sweet-lipped left
    In the glen of the unbelieving monks
    Hospitality of a true lord of meat
    To the hospitaller (lit. man of warming) in the sacred glen;
  2. Whether they be foreigners, or buffoons, or jesters,
    Till the judgement come of the crashing din,
    He will not be without ample hospitality,
    If only he wash out of the Casan.


Then Coemgen put Berach's books on his chariot, and sained the mountain, and brought a stag (thence) to draw the chariot. And  p.31 Coemgen said that wherever the stag should lie down under the chariot, there Berach should build his monastery. And he said that whatever necessity should befall Berach, he would help him in enduring it. And he blessed him greatly.


Berach then proceeded to his land taking Maelmothlach with him as his servant, who was of the Ciannachta by race. And the  78b stag was yoked to the chariot carrying the books. And the stag did not lie down under the chariot till it reached the place which Patrick foretold; and there the stag lay down. Berach said to Maelmothlach: “Here it was ordained for us to stop. Go and explore the meadow.” Maelmothlach went on this errand, and explored the meadow.


Now on that day a great slaughter had taken place there; two royal princes had fought a battle there that day, to wit, Donnchad of Tara, and Tipraite son of Tadg, of Cruachan; and both had fallen in the middle of the fort which is in the meadow, with great slaughter about them. Tipraite was slain at once; the life was still in Donnchad, but he could not rise from the field of battle. When then Maelmothlach saw the slaughter, he was seized with a great terror; and he came hurriedly to the place where Berach was. Berach asked him: “What kind of meadow is it?” “No pleasant meadow indeed,” said Maelmothlach, “but all one meadow of corruption.” “This shall be its name henceforth,” said Berach, “the Meadow of Corruption” (Cluain Coirpthe). And he told the story of the meadow from that time forth. Till then it bore the name of Cluain mac Lilcon (meadow of the sons of Liliuc).


Berach then went to the battlefield, and brought to life again all who had been slain in the battle. And he healed Donnchad; and hence it was that the poet said:

  1. Donnchad and Tipraite,
    And the great forces of them both,
    Fell in their great enclosure,
    In the very middle of the fort;
    Every mantle torn, 53 every shirt red (with blood),
    Every wound inflicted,
    Unless the defence of the collars
    Were on their necks;
    A host of fair equipments would be smitten without shame {}
    Unless, &c.


Then Tipraite gave his service  79a in life and death, and the service of his seed to Berach till doom, and commended his soul and  p.32 body to his protection, and gave them to him in the day of doom and after doom. And he related to Berach the great torment which he had seen in hell, and gave thanks to God for his delivery therefrom; and he said that never since Patrick had there come to Erin any one more wonderful or more humble than Berach. And he said: “Woe to the man who incurs the wrath of one who brings souls and sets them to live in their bodies again; for heaven and earth shall be taken from him and from his seed till doom and after doom, unless he do earnest penance.” And they gave great praises to the Lord there, that is Berach with his clerks, and Donnchad and Tipraite with their numerous forces. And Donnchad and Tipraite parted there, and each of them went to his own land. And though their encounter had been eager, their parting was harmonious through the might of the Lord and the miracles of Berach.


After this Presbyter Fraech and Daigh son of Cairell came to Berach, and consecrated the monastery, and constructed it. And they said that whoever should persecute any one of them, all three of them would be his enemies, and so would the Lord be, and the company of heaven. Then said Presbyter Fraech: “This (monastery) shall be the western part of the meadow, and my church its eastern part.” And these holy elders left their blessing with Berach, and each of them went to his own church.


Then Berach went to the place where Dobtha was living in a remarkable old age. And he preached to him and to his children, and the rest of his kin; and he baptized Dobtha with his children and his descendants, both men and women. And then was fulfilled the  79b prophecy which Patrick foretold to Dobtha. So Berach returned to his monastery.


Now at this time there dwelt at Rathonn Diarmait the poet and his seven brethren (really, who was on of seven brethren), to wit, Diarmait, Tromra, Belech, Colum Derg (the Red), Cruinnicen, Brandub, and Duban, who was (afterwards) a clerk. They were of the Ciarraighe Luachra (or the Ciarraighe Connacht) by race. Now Diarmait was a goodly man, and head poet and chief master of druidism to Aedh son of Eochaid Tirmcarna, who was king of Connaught at that time. He it was who had given Rathonn to Diarmait in payment for a panegyric which he had composed for him.


And Berach told Diarmait to quit the land which Patrick had bequeathed to him (Berach); and Diarmait would not quit it. Much vexation therefore did Berach encounter, in contending for the possession of the land for the Lord's household, and for the young churchmen who should succeed him in the monastery in the service of God. So Berach  p.33 and Diarmait went to the king of Connaught, Aedh son of Eochaid, that he might decide between them. And Diarmait said to Aedh that if he adjudged the land to Berach, he would satirize him, so that three blisters would arise on his face, and that shame, blemish, and reproach would be upon it. Therefore Aedh would not decide between them, for he was afraid of being lampooned by Diarmait, and he was also afraid of Berach because of the multitude of his mighty deeds and miracles.


And Berach and Diarmait searched Erin through three times, and could not find in Erin any one to decide between them, for the same reasons. “Let us go to Alba”, said Diarmait. “By all means,” said Berach. They proceeded therefore to Alba, to Aedan son of Gabran, king of Alba, that he might decide between them.


It happened that a great feast was being held at that time by Aedan and the chief men of Alba; and a great number of youths were engaged in sports on the lawn of the fort. Diarmait moreover was  80a elaborately arrayed, and made a very fine figure; while Berach was adorning his soul, and not his body, and looked but meanly. And Diarmait hurried on before the clerk and said to the youths: “The impostor is coming; attack him with dung and cudgels and stones.” The youths undertook to do so; and made a rush towards the clerk. The clerk looked at them. “May you be unable,” said he, “to do what ye would attempt.” Their feet clave to the earth, and their hands clave to the stocks and to the sticks which they held. And their form and visage changed, and God fixed them on that wise.


And Berach and Diarmait proceeded to the entrance of the fort. And great cold seized them at the entrance, and there were two great heaps or mounds of snow in front of the fort. “O impostor,” said Diarmait, “if thou wert a true clerk, fire would be made of yon two mounds of snow, that we might warm ourselves thereat.” “Let fire be made of them,” said Berach, “arise and blow them.” Diarmait went and blew the two mounds of snow, and they blazed up like dry wood, and Diarmait and Berach warmed themselves at them.


These mighty deeds and miracles were reported to Aedan; and Aedan said to his druids: “Find out who has done these mighty deeds and miracles.” And the druids went on to their hurdles of rowan, and new beer was brought to them. Four was the number of the druids and the first one of them said:

    [Druid 1]
  1. Berach with unfailing triumphs,
    A mass of gold is his forefront;
    Erin, in her royal forts
    In her glorious sepulchres {} 54
    In her glorious sepulchres.
 p.34 Said the second one of them:
    [Druid 2]
  1. There is no noble shining saint,
    Nor wondrous sacred virgin,
    Who could attain such wondrous deeds
    As  80b Berach the ever triumphant
    From fair Badhgna.
Then said the third druid:
    [Druid 3]
  1. Berach, the son of Nemhnall,
    Son of Nemargen of the heroic strength;
    It is no landless man,
    (But) one weighty, strong, vigorous, generous,
    Against whom he puts forth his wrath.
Said the fourth druid:
    [Druid 4]
  1. His swiftness is revealed,
    His quickness turns away evil,
    The son 55 of Oengus,
    Son of Erc the red.


And the druids said to Aedan: “Berach, a noble and honourable saint, has come from the lands of Erin, namely from Badhgna, from the regions of Connaught, and a poet with him, to seek of thee a decision concerning an estate. He it is who has done these mighty deeds and miracles; and they are in front of the fort.” And he was brought into the fort forthwith; and Aedan gave Berach his whole desire, and prostrated himself before him. And Berach cured the youths.


And Aedan offered the fort to Berach; that is Eperpuill, a monastery of Berach's in Alba. And the king offered to Berach and to his convent after him his own royal suit, and that of every king after him, and dues from all Alba. And the youths offered their own service to Berach, and that of their offspring and seed till doom, and their districts and territories. And Aedan said that it was Aedh, son of Brenann, king of Tethba, and Aedh Dubh (the black), son of Fergna, king of Breifne who should decide between them in Erin.


And Berach and Diarmait returned to Erin. And they came to Aedh Dubh son of Suibhne, king of Ulster. Aedh Dubh received St. Berach with great joy, and showed great honour to them and he offered the fort in which he was to Berach. This is Cluain na Cranncha (Meadow of the Ploughgear) in Ulster, and there are numerous monks in it. Too many to relate here are the mighty works and miracles which Berach did therein.


Afterwards they went to Aedh Dubh son of Fergna,  81a and to Aedh son of Brenann to decide between them. And they arranged an assembly for a fixed day; and the place  p.35 for the assembly was Lis Ard Abla (the High Fort of the Apple-Tree) in Magh Tethba. And Berach and Diarmait each went to his own territory the night before the assembly. And they held a preliminary assembly on the morrow at the thorn-tree that is in Tir Tromra (Tromra's land) at Rathonn. And Berach did not go to the preliminary assembly, but went direct to the assembly at Lis Ard Abla.


There was a great multitude in the assembly, Aedh Dubh son of Fergna, and the forces of Breifne with him; Aedh son of Brenann and the forces of Tethba with him. There were a great number of saints at the meeting, Daigh son of Cairell, and Presbyter Fraech, Mancan and Ciaran, Mael and Failbe Finn (the Fair) the pilgrim, Dachua, Samthann, and Arnáin, and many other saints.


Berach then did many mighty deeds and miracles in the assembly; and then Diarmait came to the assembly, and began reviling Berach, and said: “Thou impostor, there is not (here) the thorn-tree under which we held the assembly in Rathonn.” Then said Berach: “God is able to bring it hither.” And the divine power raised the thorn-tree aloft in the air with a cloud about it, and brought it so that it overhung the assembly. And Berach said to Diarmait: “Look aloft”; and Diarmait looked and saw the thorn-tree, and ceased reviling. Afterwards the thorn-tree was let down slowly to the earth, till it lighted on the mound on which Aedh son of Brenann was sitting, and stood on the mound as if it had grown out of the earth there.


And a deep flush came over Aedh son of Brenann.  81b And the hosts were terrified at this, and glorified the Lord and Berach; and it was of this the poet said:

  1. Berach raised the thorn-tree (and bore it)
    in its course to the plain on which were the hosts,
    to the fair mound
    on which was Aedh son of Brenann of enduring fame.
  2. A blush came over noble Aedh
    at the gracious unsullied wonder,
    the countenance of the king of Tethba (with his) back to the ground,
    became all one red mass.


Hereupon an intense drowsiness came over Aedh Dubh son of Fergna, the king of Breifne. “O Samthann,” (said he, “let me put) my head in thy bosom, O nun, that I may sleep.” Samthann said to Aedh: “Go to Berach, and ask him to change thy complexion.” Aedh went then to Berach, and said to him that he would perform all his desire, if he would change his complexion. “God is able (to do that),” said Berach, “come and put thy head under my cowl, and sleep.” Aedh put his head under Berach's cowl, and slept; and a shower of rain fell forthwith; and Aedh drew his head forth from the cowl, and he was the fairest of the warriors of the world. Then said one of his household: “Meseems he is Aedh Finn (the Fair) now, who was Aedh Dubh (the Black) a while ago.” Berach said:  p.36 “This shall be his name and the name of his seed till doom.” So it is from this is named the Slicht Aeda Finn (progeny of Aedh Finn), of whom are the royal family of East Connaught. And Aedh Finn offered to Berach his own royal apparel and that of every king after him till doom, and a scruple from every city from his seed and offspring till doom.


And the hosts invoked the Trinity (praying) that the true God would give righteous judgement between Berach and Diarmait. Then said  82a an angel above the hosts: “To Berach his inheritance from now till doom.” Then said Aedh son of Brenann: “Ye hear that an angel has given the decision; his land to Berach till doom.” Diarmait was wroth with Aedh son of Brenann for this, and (said he) “Meseems thou art saying this after him” (i. e. at his dictation). And Diarmait opened his mouth to make an extempore lampoon on Aedh. Aedh said to Berach: “Under thy protection I place myself, O clerk, against the poet.” Berach went up to Diarmait, and put his palm over his mouth, and said: “Neither satire nor panegyric shall cross these lips for ever, and I declare that this day year (lit. the namesake of this day at the end of a year) will be (the day) of thy death.” And from that day forth he could make neither satire nor panegyric. So Aedh son of Brenann was delivered thereupon through the grace of Berach.


And Aedh offered his own royal apparel to Berach, and that of every king after him, and a scruple from every city from East Tethba and from his seed and offspring till doom. Then said Berach: “Let the thorn-tree return to its place.” And the power of God raised the thorn-tree (and bore it) back to its place in Rathonn. And on this wise the assembly was dissolved.


Berach then went to his monastery. Diarmait went to Rathonn in great heaviness. On the morrow Berach went to the place where Diarmait was, and told him to leave the land. And he abandoned the land to Berach, and so did Cruinicen, and Dubán the clerk. Berach went to the place were Tromra was, and told him to leave the land. And Tromra said that he would never leave it.  82b Berach said to Tromra: “Get thee under the earth.” Straightway the earth swallowed up Tromra. Berach went to Belach and told him to leave the land. Belach said that he would never leave it. “Get thee under the earth in front of thee.” Suddenly the earth swallowed up Belach. Berach went to Colum Derg (the Red), and told him to leave the land. And he would not. And Berach put Colum under the earth. Berach went on to Brandubh and told him to leave the land, and he would not. Brandubh too was put under the earth.


Diarmait went then to Baislec under the protection of Bishop Soichill, and remained there to the end of a year. On the day year Diarmait began to revile Berach, and said: “This is the day the  p.37 impostor promised me death.” Bishop Soichill rebuked him: “Thinkest thou that there is not time (from now) to nightfall for death to come to thee? Go into the church, and shut thyself in.” Diarmait went into the church and shut himself in.


Now a stag appeared to the folk of the western part of the land; and they pursued it, horse and foot, dog and man. The beast took the road to Baislec, and halted east of the church opposite a window; and all (the pursuers) set up a great shout at it. Diarmait got up hastily to see what was the matter, and came to the window and looked out. And one of the people who were pursuing the beast made a cast at it with his hunting spear; and the spear went through the window and hit Diarmait in the throat, and he fell on the floor of the church  83a and died, according to the word of Berach, on the anniversary of the assembly. But the beast escaped unhurt.


Now when Cú-allaid (i. e. wolf) the son of Diarmait heard this, he went to overlook Rathonn and curse it, that no corn might grow from the land there, and that the cows might give no milk, nor the trees in its woods mast, as far as his eye could see. And he had nine robbers with him.


Berach happened to be at Dun Imgain in Magh na Fert (Plain of the Tombs), and Concennan with him. It was revealed to Berach that Cú-allaid was coming on this errand. And Berach sent Concennan after him; and said to him: “Challenge them first of all.” Concennan then went in pursuit of the robbers, and overtook them on the chariot road; and he did not challenge them there, but discharged at them (the weapon) that was in his hand. And Cú-allaid turned his face and (the weapon) hit the arch of his forehead, and pierced his head, and he fell in the midst of his household. And he said: “Carry me up quickly to the summit of the mountain, that I may overlook the land of Berach, and curse it speedily from the summit of the mountain.” And they carried him up to a bluff of the mountain, and Cú-allaid died there; and he could see nothing from it but a worthless oak grove, and that has been unfruitful ever since; and his company fled from him.


And Concennan went up to him and cut off his tress of hair, and carried it off as a trophy, and he was afraid of (meeting) the clerk, for he had not bidden him to slay a man. He cut a rod and arranged the tress upon it on the meadow after coming out of the wood. And hence  83b (the place) is called Achad Cullebar (the Field of the Long Hair). Concennan then went to the place where Berach was. And the deed which he had done was revealed to Berach; and Berach was greatly displeased that a man should have been slain; and Concennan did penance. Moreover the company of Cú-allaid went astray till they happened on the place were Berach was, and they prostrated themselves before him and did penance, and gave their service to Berach,  p.38 and they are the Household of Cell Lallóg, and it was Berach who left them there.


One day the plough-team of Berach went mad (and bolted) from the monastery at Rathonn, and made for Cluain Coirpthe, and crossed the Shannon to Cluain Deoinsi, and Cluain Inchais, and Cluain Dártha, and thence to Ath na nDam (Ford of the Oxen). Ciáran Máel (the Bald) headed them there, and hence (the place) is called Ath na nDam; and they went back to Tuaim Usci (the Water Place) and crossed the Shannon westwards. And the monks were greatly concerned thereat. And Berach said that however far the oxen might scour (the country), they would complete their day('s journey) before night (lit. its night).


Meanwhile the oxen went through the desert to Eared Lara (the Mare's Ploughed field), and to Edargabail, and to Rath Ferchon (Fort of the Dog), and to Cluain in Buic Finn (Meadow of the White Buck), to Caill na nGlasán and to Lis Dúnabhra, and to Fan na mBachall (Slope of the Staves), and to Clar Lis mic Ciarain (Plain of the Fort of the Son of Ciaran) in Magh Ái, to Cluain Ingrec(h), and to Cluain Cái, and to Léna Ghlúin Áin, and into the mountain, and to Dubhcaill (the black wood), and to Rinn Daire Abréni, and into Tuaim Achad (Mound of the Field), and back into Rathonn, and they completed their day('s journey) before night. And their plough gear was on them and the iron (ploughshare) behind them all the time. And they ploughed in all these places, and every place in which they ploughed belongs to Berach. And from the spectre (scath) which appeared to the oxen on that day, (the place) Scathoch in Rathonn is named.


 84a Once upon a time, after the defeat of the battle of Cuil Dremne, Columcille son of Feidlimid set out to (visit) Berach; for he had found no welcome with any saint whom he had visited up to that time. It happened that that evening was the eve of Sunday (i. e. Saturday evening). And the sacristan in Cluain Coirpthe rang the bell early (i. e. before the proper time). At that moment Columcille was crossing Magh Rathoinn, and sat down at the southern end of the causeway; and there is a cross and a parish church there. This was revealed to Berach, and he went to meet Columcille, and greeted him. Columcille greeted Berach, who welcomed him heartily, and said to him: “Let us go to the monastery now.” “I will not go there on my feet to-night,” said Columcille, “for the eve of Sunday has begun.” “Then I will carry thee on my shoulders,” said Berach. “Thou shalt not carry me forward to it to-night,” said Columcille. “Then I will carry thee backwards”, (lit. with thy back before thee) said Berach. So then Berach carried Columcille on his shoulders, back to back, till they reached the refectory, and there he deposited  p.39 him.


And the oxen of the plough team were killed for him that night, and Berach and Columcille made a covenant and compact, and Columcille left many good bequests in Cluain Coirpthe; he left heaven to its priest, and to its abbot (the promise) that he would be helped, if he pray three times at the cross of Columcille; he left (a promise) that association with himself in heaven should be granted to every monk of Berach who should come to him on pilgrimage. He left the gospel which he had written with his own hand in sign of the covenant between himself and Berach; and he left abundant blessing with Berach, and proceeded on his way.


Once upon a time great scarcity came to Erin. At that time  84b Laegachan was in his island on Loch Laegachan, and had no provisions. He went then with his kernes to seek for food, and left his wife, who was pregnant, on the island with a single woman in her company; and he told her, if she should bear a child after his departure, to kill it, as they had no means of rearing it. And the woman bore a male child afterwards, and the woman who was with her asked her what was to be done with the boy. And she said: “Kill it.” The other woman said: “It is better to take it to the clerk of the church here to the west, to be baptized, and let his service be offered to him in return for his maintenance.”


This plan was agreed upon by them, and the child was taken to Berach, and he baptized it, and the name given to it was Ineirge, and its service in life and death, and the service of its seed and offspring till doom was offered to Berach in return for its nurture. And Berach said: “Let the child be taken to its mother, and assistance of food and means will come to them.” The child was taken to its mother as the clerk said.


As the women were there they heard a noise in the house 56 (?). The woman went to see, but could not perceive anything there. [The same thing happened a second time.] 57 A third time they heard the noise, and a third time the woman went to see, and there was a great salmon there, and an otter dragging it to land. And the woman went and dragged the salmon to land, and could not carry it for its size. And she called the other woman, and the two of them with difficulty carried the salmon, and they dressed it,  85a and ate their fill, and the breasts of the mother of the child were filled with milk forthwith, and thus the child was saved.


Laegachan meanwhile went afar, and came to a place where all the folk had died, and the cows and all the cattle of the place were there, and they came with him to his land; and he sent some one on  p.40 ahead to find out whether his wife had borne a child, and, if so, whether it had been killed. And he found the child alive, and he went to the place where Laegachan was and told him. And Laegachan was fain of the news, and went to his island; and he asked how the child came to be alive; and the mother told how that it was Berach who had supported it; and that its service had been offered to him. And Laegach[an] went to Berach and offered his whole will to him, and confirmed to Berach the service of his child till doom.


Once upon a time the Úi Briuin of the Shannon, and Cucathfaid their king came to raid the inferior clans that were under the protection of Berach. And they set out to accomplish their raid. Berach was at Cluain Coirpthe at the time, and this was revealed to him; and he set out in the direction of the army, and met them at Bun Sruthra. Berach had the little gray (bell) in his hand, and he told Cucathfaid and the army to stop where they were; and they did not stop, but went past him in contempt of him, till the battalions reached the bog to the south of Bun Sruthra. Berach gazed at them from where he was; and struck his bell against them. The bog swallowed them up at once, with their king, and he made a lake of the bog forthwith;  85b and that army may still be seen (beneath the water going) on the king's errand, and their spears on their backs.


Dicholla then and Toranach went from where they were after the army and Berach met them. “Stay by me,” said Berach to Dicholla. “I will,” said Dicholla; and he told Toranach to stay by him, and he did so. Then they heard a great cry of the army being swallowed up by the bog, and the lake coming over them. And they asked what had befallen them; and Berach told them what had befallen them (the army). And great fear came upon them straightway, and they prostrated themselves before Berach; and Berach said to Dicholla: “The lordship which Cucathfaid had shall belong to thee and to thy seed to the end of the world.” And he gave his blessing to Dicholla and to Toranach, and to the few who were with them.


Hereupon a scholar 58 who had escaped from the army came to them, and said to Berach: “I (put myself) under thy protection, O Clerk.” Berach looked at him and was about to strike his bell against him, and to put him under the earth; and Dicholla and Toranach adjured Berach by the name of God, not to destroy the scholar; and said: “We have but few men now, and we have need of him.” And Berach destroyed him not. The man did penance, and gave Berach all he willed. Berach left to him (as his destiny)  p.41 that he (i. e. his seed) should not exceed nine, and that the king's bedfellow should be (chosen) from them, if only they were obedient to him. Then Dicholla and Toranach offered their service to Berach, and he did not accept it. Then they ordained that the royal suit of their king and a scruple for every city,  86a and for every dutiful son, and for every nephew, and every foster-child, should be given every third year. And they were freed thus.


On one occasion when Berach was in Cluain Coirpthe, he sent a monk on an errand to Rathonn, Sillen by name. Nine robbers fell in with him, who had come from the East of Tethba to ravage in Connaught, and they killed the monk, and went between his head and his body. This was revealed to Berach, and he proceeded quickly to seek them, and found them (standing) over the corpse. When the robbers saw Berach, they resolved forthwith to kill him, and seized their spears with that intent. Their hands stuck to their spears, and their spears stuck to the rock near them, and the marks of their butt-ends will remain on it till doom.


They did penance, and said to Berach: “Do not deprive us of heaven, and we will do all thy will, O Clerk.” Berach then spared them, and said to them: “Fit the head to the trunk”; and they did so. And Berach took a rush from a rushy pool on the bank hard by, and made a prayer over it, and fitted it round the throat of the corpse, and he arose forthwith; and hence (these rushes) are (called) “Berach's rushes” till doom. And Berach left great grace upon them, and (as a doom) to the robbers that their seed should never exceed nine, and that there should always be a servitor of them in Cluain Coirpthe, and  86b that as long as there should be one, there should only be one man of them in succession to another. And this is what is still fulfilled, and will be fulfilled till doom. And a servitor went with Berach, and thus they parted.


On another occasion Colman Cáel (the Lean) of Cluain Ingrech determined to go to Rome; he was a pupil of Berach, and it was Berach who appointed him to Cluain Ingrech. He went therefore to his tutor and master Berach. Berach tried to stop him from going, and could not. Colman Cáel set out, and Berach went a little way with him on the road. They met with Ciaran Máel (the Bald) at the end of the lawn. And he and Berach tried once more to stop Colman Cáel from going. And Colman Cáel said that he would not rest till he should see Rome with his eyes. Berach sained the air, and made the sign of the cross over Colman's eyes; and they three, Berach and Colman Cáel, and Ciaran Máel, saw Rome, and praised the Lord in that place, and erected a cross and a mother church there to Berach, and to Ciaran Máel, and to Colman Cáel. And  p.42 another cross was erected there to Paul and to Peter. And the visiting of those crosses is the same to any one as if he should go an equal distance of the road to Rome. And (Berach) stopped Colman Cáel there.


However, not till the sand of the sea be numbered, and the stars of the heaven, and the grass and all the herbs that grow out of the earth, and the dew which grows or lingers on the grass and on the herbs, will all the mighty deeds of St. Berach be numbered. A righteous man was this man.  87a He was all purity of nature like a patriarch; a true pilgrim in heart and soul like Abraham; gentle and forgiving like Moses; a psalmist worthy to be praised like David; a moon (or treasury) of knowledge and wisdom like Solomon; a chosen vessel to proclaim righteousness like Paul the apostle; a man full of grace and favour of the Holy Spirit, like John the youth; a fair garden with plants of virtue, a branch of a fruitful vine; a shining fire all aglow to cherish and warm the sons of life in kindling and inflaming love. A lion for might and power; a dove for gentleness and simplicity, a serpent for prudence and ingenuity for good; gentle, humble, merciful, lowly towards sons of life; dark and pitiless towards sons of death; an industrious and obedient slave to Christ; a king for dignity and power to bind and loose, to free and to enslave, to kill and make alive.


So then after these great miracles, after raising the dead, after healing lepers and blind and lame, and every other plague, after ordaining bishops, and priests, and deacons, and people of every other order in the Church, after teaching and baptizing many, after founding churches and monasteries, after overcoming the arts of idols and of druidism, the day of St. Berach's death and of his going to heaven drew near. And before he went thither there appeared an angel to him, and said to him, that the Lord had great care for him, and for his monks and for his monastery; and said that whoever should ask a righteous perfect petition of him, it should be granted to him; and revealed to him the day of his going to heaven.


Now Berach spent his life in fastings and prayer and almsgivings in the presence of the Lord. He received communion and sacrifice from the hand of Talmach [and commended] to him his inheritance and the headship of his monastery and of his young ecclesiastics. He sent his spirit to heaven, and his body was buried in the dark house (i. e. grave) with great honour and reverence, and with miracles and mighty works in this world; but greater far will be (his honour) in the (great) Assize, when he will shine like the sun in heaven in the presence of the apostles and disciples of Jesus, in the presence of the Divinity and Humanity of the Son of God, in the presence of the sublime Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I pray the mercy of the Son of God Almighty through the intercession of St. Berach whose festival and commemoration are (observed) in  p.43 many noble churches to-day, that we may attain, that we may merit, that we may inherit the kingdom in secula seculorum. Amen.


(COLOPHON) This was copied from a bad old vellum book, belonging to the children of Brian 59 O'Mulconry the younger. In the convent of the friars on the Drowes on Feb. 6, 1629 the poor friar Michael O'Clery wrote it.


5. The Twelve Apostles of Ireland

 p.93 70b

In this Life


The twelve apostles 61 of Erin were in Clonard studying with Finnian; and Finnian made a feast to the apostles 62 and to the other saints of Erin. When their enjoyment of the feast was at its height, they saw an indescribably large flower come to them as a token of the Land of Promise. Then they held earnest counsel as to going in search of the land of the flower. No one of them was before another in undertaking the journey thither; so lots were cast between them, that is between each pair of them; and the lot fell on the two Brendans to go. The two Brendans then cast lots between themselves, (to see) to which of them it would fall to go and seek for the Land of Promise. And the lot fell on Brendan of Birr to go.


Then all the saints of Erin became silent and troubled out of concern that it should have fallen to the Senior, that is to the eldest of the saints of Erin, and to the prophetic sage, to venture into the jaws 63 of the sea and mighty ocean. Then said Brendan, the son of Findlug: “I am the younger; it is I who will venture on the ocean.” And thereof one composed this lay:


  1. They were studying for a long while,
    They recited diligently their lessons
    Under Finnian with his scores of cells,
    The twelve apostles of Erin.
  2. They saw coming to them a flower,
    The comely noble company,
    From the bright (?) land of promise, 64
    From the King of kings, from the royal Sovereign.
  3. They all spake together,
    They came to a good resolve,
    Till they should reach it—mysterious the matter of it—
    They would seek the land of the flower.
  4.  p.97
  5. God separated from each pair of them,
    Of the ancient saints, the completion 65 of the labour;
    By the will of the wondrous great lot,
    So that it fell to the two Brendans.
  6.  p.94
  7. Thus the glorious (?) God blessed them,
    With their vessels of malt,
    Brendan of Birr, an excellent prince,
    And Brendan son of Findlug.
  8. They cast a fair goodly lot
    In the presence of the apostles;
    Brendan of Birr the famous,
    To him the journey fell.
  9. (It seemed) hard to his just companions
    Amid their fair drinking horns,
    That he should venture in the track of the mighty sea,
    Their perfect sage and senior. 66
  10. “As I am the youngest here now,”,
    Said Brendan the younger aloud, 67
    “Let what shall come of it fall on me;”,
    “It is I that will go on the ocean.”


Then was made by Brendan an excellent coracle for size and fullness of the crew; forty-five and seventy-three, that was the number that embarked in the coracle.


Then Brendan son of Findlug set sail on the roar of the roughcrested sea, and on the noise of the green-sloped waves, and on the hissing deep-blue brine, and into the jaws of the unknown ocean with its many creatures, wherein they found many marine monsters. And there too they would discover islands strange and beautiful, but they would not tarry longer in them.


They were then a year on the voyage, and Easter was then drawing near. So his company were saying to Brendan, that they must land in order to celebrate Easter. “God is able,” said Brendan, “to give us land in any place 68 that he pleases.” When Easter came therefore, the great beast (whale) raised its shoulders aloft out of the sea, and it formed an even, firm, settled, broad, level, beautiful land. 69 They disembarked on it, and celebrated Easter there. One day and two nights they remained in the place, till they had accomplished the ritual of Easter; after which they embarked in their coracle, and the great beast plunged under the sea. Each year, as Easter drew near, the great beast would raise its back above the sea, forming firm dry ground.


Once as they were on the ocean they saw vast 70 eddies 71.  71a The storm drew them against their will to the edge of the whirlpool. Then  p.95 great fear seized them because of the force of the storm 72. Each of them began 73 to gaze in Brendan's face, for the danger in which they were was exceeding great. Brendan then raised his voice on high and said: “Enough for thee, O mighty sea,” said he , “to drown me; therefore release this company.” 74 Then the sea grew calm at once, and the ebullitions (?) 75 of the whirlpool abated thenceforth, and never harmed any one again.


Another day when they were on the sea, the devil came to them in an enchanted, 76 most horrible, impure, and hellish form, and settled on the mast of the ship in the presence of Brendan alone. No one else of them saw him, but only Brendan. Brendan asked the devil why he had come from hell before his proper time, that is before the time of the great resurrection. “It is for this I am come indeed,” said the devil, “to be tortured in the deep prisons of this black dark sea.” Brendan asked him: “What and where is that hellish place?” “Alas!” said the devil, “no one can see it, and survive.”


Then the devil showed the door of hell to Brendan, and then Brendan saw the hard dark prison, full of stench, full of flame, full of filth, full of camps of poisonous devils, full of weeping, 77 and shrieking and woe, of wretched cries and loud lamentations, of mourning and wringing of hands by the sinful people, and the life of grief and sorrow in the heart of pain, in fiery prisons, in currents of ever-blazing, streams, in the cup of lasting sorrow and of never-ending unceasing death, in dark sloughs, in seats of fierce flame, in abounding grief and death, and tortures, and chains, and heavy helpless struggles, amid the horrible screams of the poisonous demons, in the night ever dark, ever cold, ever fetid, ever foul, ever melancholy, ever rough, ever long, ever stifling, fatal, destructive, gloomy, bristling with fire, of the lower freezing hideous hell; on slopes of ever-fiery hills, without rest or stay, but hosts of demons haling the sinners into prisons 78 heavy, strong, hot, fiery, dark, deep, lonely, futile, base, black, idle, foul, lengthy, enchanted, ever stinking, ever full of strife, and quarrel and weariness, ever dying, ever living.


Weeping sharp, fierce, stormy; lamentation shrill, querulous, loud-voiced, bitter, sharp-toned, mournful. Worms crooked, cruel, daring, huge-headed. Monsters yellow, wan, widemouthed. Lions fierce, nimble, ravenous. Hawks swift, mighty, towering. Dragons red, 79 dark, broad-backed, restless (or idle 80), Tigers strong and treacherous, scorpions blue and hairy 81, griffins fierce and sharp-beaked; gnats stinging, with large mouths; gadflies crooked, hard-beaked. Strong mallets of heavy iron; flails enchanted  p.96 and rough with age; sharp swords; red spears; black 82 demons; fetid fires;  71b poisonous streams; stinking cataracts.


Cats scratching, dogs tearing, hounds hunting; demons screeching. Fetid loughs, great sloughs, dark pits, deep valleys, high hills, cruel crags. Hosts of demons, fotil encampment, pain unceasing, greedy swarms, frequent fighting, instant quarrel, demons tormenting, tortures innumerable, life of sorrow.


A place in which there are streams hoarse, bitter, enchanted, ever stinking, putrid, melting, burning, bare, swift, boiling, broad; straits cruel, rocky, long, cold, deep, small, great, boggy (?), ever-hot, extended, kneaded, sad. Plains bare and burning. Hills round and hairy; valleys crooked and wormy; bogs rough and prickly; woods dark and fiery. Roads filthy and beast-haunted; seas 83 congealed giving off foul odours. Huge iron nails. Black bitter waters. Many strange places; a foul ever-putrid company; bitter wintry winds. Frozen ever dropping snow; red fiery griddles; base blackened faces; swift mangling demons; vast and strange torments.


After Brendan had seen these torments, he heard a lamentation great, intolerable, unendurable, and a melancholy wretched cry, and a helpless weeping in the depth of the bottom of hell. Then a great fear seized the cleric at the horror of that misery. And then Brendan saw a huge rock, and on it was that 84 which he had heard. And the infernal sea would wash over the huge rock on every side; a wave of black-red fire (would break) over it from in front, and a cold icy wave from behind alternately.


And one wretched man was standing on the rock. Brendan asked him who he was. “I am Judas Iscariot,” said he , “and it was I that sold my Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, for silver, and the despicable useless riches of the world. And vast,” said he, “ is the greatness of my strange torments; and I shall be as thou seest from now till the day of doom.” Then Brendan wept for the greatness of the misery in which he saw Judas to be. And then as a memorial for Brendan 85 Judas made these little verses:

[Judas Ischariot]
  • I am Judas Iscariot to-day
    On the waves of the mighty ocean;
    Wretched is my perilous dark life,
    Tortured as I am in hell.
  • (Tossed) from a wave of fire to a cold wave,
    From a cold wave to every mighty wave:
    From every quarter am I tortured;
    Sad is the report of my torment.
  •  p.97
  • Woe is me that I forsook my King;
    Evil was the deed to which I put my hand;
    Therefore shall I be for ever
    Without peace and without gentle affection.
  • The depth of hell every alternate hour,
    Wretched the shrieking 86 (?) beneath my side.
    Black demons are around me;
    Out, alack, (?) it is no fair fashion.
  •  16
  • Woe to him who did it, woe to him who does it;
    Woe for his pilgrimage in this world;
    For him who is guilty of excessive covetousness,
    Woe twice over, and woe, O God.
  • Woe to me my covetousness which destroyed me,
    I see rude demons now;
    Woe my journey to them, O God;
    Woe said my cruel conscience.
  • Alas, O Brendan, look on me;
    All that I do is too much for me;
    Hell, luckless, base, black, blind;
    Alas 'tis there that I am alive.
  • Alas, alas, the price of the betrayal of my King,
    Long, long shall I feel the evil of it;
    Thirty circles 87 of white silver,
    'Tis that which has tortured my body.
  • For treasure I delivered up my King;
    Alas, it is for that my fate is evil;
    The treasure remains not at my pleasure,
    (But) I remain in torment for ever.
  •  17
  • Alas, that I died not, O Son of my God;
    Alas, rude is the conflict I endure;
    Alas, I am burning a hundredfold;
    I find not death, but remain alive.
  • Twisted worms are beneath my side,
    Black and dusky, wretched the threat (?);
    Hounds of chase there alternately;
    Wretched is the shrieking 88(?) which encompasses me.
  •  p.98
  • Alas, O silver; woe worth thy deed;
    Alas, thou hast robbed me of my God;
    Alas, O treasure, fair deceiver;
    Alas, it is a plague which I inflicted myself.
  • In company with demons am I;
    Alas, ill did my nature elate me;
    My mockery through pride was heard;
    I am Judas Iscariot.
  • 6. The Life of Old Ciaran of Saighir

     p.99 222

    In this Life


    There was a notable man in Ossory, of the Dal Birn, Lugna by name. He went on a circuit in the southern part of Ireland, in Corco Laigde to be precise, and took there a wife worthy of him, named Liadain. This woman saw a vision. It seemed to her that a star came from heaven, and entered her mouth, so that it enlightened all the men of Erin. She arose the next morning, and related all that she had seen; and this was the interpretation put upon it, that she would give birth to an eminent child, of whose mighty deeds and miracles all the West of the world would be full.


    That proved true; the child was born, to wit Ciaran, and was fostered in Clear. And the grace of God was manifest upon him in many miracles and mighty deeds; and he was thirty years in that place, studying and praying diligently, though he had received neither baptism nor benediction, but only what he received of them (direct) from heaven. This was not surprising, for there was neither baptism nor belief in this island at that time. So Ciaran set out to go on a journey to Rome of Latium, for it had been revealed to him from heaven that it was there he should read his psalms, and receive episcopal orders, for that (city) was the head of the faith.


    When he came  223 to Rome, he was baptized on his arrival, and read the scripture and the divine canon under the abbot of Rome, and was engaged in this study thirty years, till it was commanded him to go to his own land, for it was there it was ordained that he should abide, and that his mighty deeds and prayers should be famed throughout the whole world.


    Ciaran went thence to Italy, and there on the way Patrick met him, and they greeted one another. And Patrick told him to go to his own land, and that a monastery would be built in the middle of the island, and that he would find an Úarán (little cold spring) there. “And stay by it, and I will meet thee (there) after thirty years.” “I do not know the way to it,” said Ciaran, “for I know not this Úarán at which I should abide, from any other.” “Thou shalt take my bell,” said he, “and it will be dumb till it reaches the Úarán, and it will ring when it reaches it, and Bardan Ciarain will be the name of it (the bell) till doom, and mighty deeds and miracles will be done by you (i. e. Ciaran and the bell) together, and Saighir will be the name of the place.”


    They bade farewell to one another to wit Patrick and Ciaran, and Ciaran did as he was told, till he came  p.100 to the famous Úarán which is in Eile  224 of Munster; and his bell rang there as was promised. And he marked out his monastery thereafter.


    God did many mighty works there for Ciaran. When he began to dig the cemetery all by himself, he saw a wild boar coming towards him, which began to cut and root, and with this rooting it cut down the whole wood, and turned up the ground, and levelled it. Afterwards he made a hut in which to stay while engaged on that great work, the wild animal cutting and dragging the timber for him till it was finished. God gave additional monks to Ciaran, and he saw coming to them a wolf with a badger and a fox in his train, and they remained with him doing him duty and service.


    Thus they remained for a long time in this service, till it befell that the fox's native character came uppermost in his mind, and he stole Ciaran's shoes and fled to his earth (lit. cave house). As soon as Ciaran missed them, he said to the other monks, to the wolf and to the badger: “It is no fit practice for a monk,”  225 said he, “to plunder and steal; and go,” said he to the badger, “and bring him with thee willingly or by force, that he may be reprimanded for it.”


    Then the badger set out and overtook the fox, and he bound him from his ear to his tail, and brought him with him by force. Ciaran said to him: “Fast, and do penance, for such ill conduct is no fit practice for a monk, and be sensible, and if thou hast any longings, God will give to thee as thou shalt desire.” He did as Ciaran bade, and remained under the same service (as before), so that the name of God and of Ciaran was magnified thereby.


    After that, when the fame and repute of Ciaran were heard of, his relations gathered to him from every quarter; and his mother came to him, and brought many virgins with her to serve God and Ciaran. And he raised a royal monastery and a choice temple to God, and gave frequent instruction in the words of God to the neighbouring districts, and to his own fatherland, Ossory; and great multitudes of men believed on God through the instruction of Ciaran.


    It then befell that Patrick came to sow the faith among the men  226 of Ireland, and to baptize them, having been commanded so to do by Jesus on Mount Sinai when the Bachall Ísa (staff of Jesus) was given to him; and He (Jesus) approved and bound whatever Patrick should bind in this island. For before Patrick there were none to maintain faith and belief in Erin but Ciaran, and Ailbe, and Declan, and Bishop Iubar. All things were accomplished by Patrick as Jesus bade him; and he rescued the men of Erin from the hands of demons, and from the worship of idols.


    Now Liadain, the mother of Ciaran, had a favourite fosterling, named Bruinech, and there was not in the world a woman more  p.101 beautiful or more virtuous. She was a daughter of one of the kings of Munster, and she had dedicated her virginity to God, and went to Ciaran with Liadain. One day the king of Cinel Fiachach 89, named Dima, came to Ciaran, and saw the beauteous maiden, and was bewitched at the sight of her, and carried her off against her will without Ciaran's knowledge, and forced her afterwards.


    This thing was a heavy grief to Ciaran, and he went to seek the maiden to the house of Dima; and Dima said to him: “Thou shalt not take the maiden,” said he, “till thy  227 Lord commands me.” “God is able to do that,” said Ciaran. They had not been long there, when a voice above them said: “Release the maiden.” He released the maiden (to go) with Ciaran after that, and she was pregnant. Ciaran then made the sign of the Divine Cross over her, and it (the foetus) vanished immediately without being perceived.


    Some time after this, it came into the mind, of Dima to go to seek the maiden again, for he could not endure to be without her. When the maiden saw the king coming towards her, she felt sure that he had come to carry her off whether willingly or by force, and she died forthwith. When Dima saw the death of the maiden, his limbs shook, and his mind was bewildered, and he said to Ciaran thereupon: “Thou hast killed my wife,” said he, “and it shall be avenged on thee; and thou shalt be swept off the place where thou art, and it shall not be thine any longer.” “Thou hast no power herein,” said Ciaran, “the God of heaven is between us; my weal or woe is not in thy power.”


    Hereupon at this answer a son of the king's died; and the child's nurse came into the presence of Ciaran, lamenting bitterly, and the woman  228 said: “I offer that child and myself in service to thee,” said she, “if thou help him at this time, for it is thou who didst slay him.” Thereupon lightning struck the king's mansion, and it was burned, both men and cattle, and another son of the king was burned, viz. Duncad son of Dima.


    When the king heard this, he went to Ciaran, and prostrated himself cross-wise before him with great contrition and deep sorrow, and implored him for help and forgiveness. Ciaran granted his request, and raised his two sons after death and burning so that they were whole. When Ciaran saw that the maiden was dead, he raised her from death in the same way, for he felt sure that the king would not again carry her off in his despite. The name of God and of Ciaran was glorified by these miracles.


    Once upon a time Ciaran's cook came to him, and said: “We have no pigs, and we shall need them to feed our monks.” “God  p.102 is able to effect that,” said Ciaran. It was not long before they saw twelve pigs coming towards them. They remained with them,  229 and many herds were bred from them.


    Another time the same cook came to Ciaran, and said to him: “We are in need of sheep; and we shall have to buy them, if they cannot be got (otherwise).” “It is not more difficult with God,” said Ciaran, “(to provide sheep) than pigs.” And that proved true; they see a flock of white sheep in the plain. And they were scarcely able to tend their progeny (i. e. they became so numerous).


    On one occasion there came an honourable man named Fintan who lived near Ciaran, bringing his dead son with him, named Laeghaire, for Ciaran to raise. Ciaran prayed to God for help, and made earnest prayer with cross-vigil for him to God. The son arose from death at Ciaran's word, and the name of God and Ciaran was magnified thereby. And he (the father) gave all his wealth and riches to God and to Ciaran; and further gave the spot on which he was, with its territory, to God and Ciaran in perpetuity. Raith Fera is the name of it.


    It was at this time then that Patrick came to Cashel to meet the king of Munster, Aengus son of Nadfraech, and Ciaran went to join them there; and Aengus and the nobles of Munster  230 submitted to Patrick's baptism. There was a man of the Úi Duach of Ossory at that meeting, Erc by name, who stole the horse on which Patrick rode.


    The man was bound (and taken) to the king; and Ciaran went to beg him of the king. He could not obtain him without payment (were made) for him. Ciaran gave a weight of gold for him; for the Ossory man was a favourite of his. The criminal was given to him. The gold melted away afterwards and vanished. The king was angry thereat and said: “Why hast thou given thy phantom gold to me?” said he, “and it was a shameful thing for thee to do,” and he threatened him severely. “All the whole world is naught but a phantom and a vanishing,” said Ciaran. And he was furious with the king thereupon, and proceeded to curse and punish him, so that the king was blinded, and nearly died.


    Then Mochuda came to beg Ciaran to arrest the punishment, and (promised) that the king would submit to him. He helped the king afterwards, (and it was) as if he rose from the dead. For every one thought that he  231 had (actually) died. And he gave innumerable treasures to Ciaran, and himself swore to do his will. And the name of God and of Ciaran was magnified through this miracle.


    Once when the king of Munster, Aengus, was on a royal progress through Munster, he had minstrels and players with him. Some of them went on a circuit in Muscraige Tire. Enemies  p.103 attacked them for the sake of plunder, and the minstrels were slain, and hidden in a lough near by. There was a tree by the lough; and they were fastened to the tree together with their harps, after they had been stripped, for they (the robbers) did not wish that they should be discovered.


    The king missed his minstrels sorely. He sent messengers to seek them, but no trace was found of them, whether alive or dead. The king went to Ciaran to inquire what had befallen his minstrels, for he was sure that he (Ciaran) was a prophet in heaven and earth. And Ciaran revealed to him all that he asked of him. And Ciaran went before the king to the lough, and prayed earnestly with cross-vigil to God, and the lough subsided, and it was plain to every one how  232 they were fastened together to the tree, as we said before.


    Ciaran bade them arise out of the lough, and they arose as it were from sleep, with their harps in their hands, after having been a month under the lough. So that Loch na Cruitirigh (Harpers' Lough) is its name still. And the name of God, &c.


    Another time the king went on the same circuit. A chief of his following went and lighted on Ciaran's pigs. They killed one of the pigs. The hue and cry was raised against them, and eleven men of them were slain, including the chief. The king and Mochuda went to Ciaran, and bade him come with them to the slain soldiers, to carry them to Ciaran himself (i. e. to his church) to be buried.


    They go to them, and they had not enough men to carry them. Ciaran said (to the slain men): “Arise, and accompany your king, in the name of God,” said he. They arose at once from the dead at Ciaran's word, and the pig with them also alive, and they gave their service to him as long as they lived. And the name of God, &c.


    Ciaran went one day through a neighbouring wood, and saw a tall brake, with blackberries on it. He put a wisp of rushes on the bush, that it might remain in every season, whenever he might seek for them (the berries). It happened then that the king of Munster came on progress to the house of Concraid, son of Dui, king of Ossory. And the queen (of Munster), Eithne Uathach (the horrible), set her love upon him, for there was no man more comely than this Concraid; and Eithne whispered to him her desire.


    Concraid consented not to this, for he had no wish to incur guilt in respect of the queen. So this is what Eithne did; she simulated decline and sickness, so that (as she alleged) she could not move. This was reported to Concraid, and he went to Eithne, and asked what would do her good. She said that nothing would be any good to her, unless blackberries could be got, for on them her desire was set, and they would be medicine and herbs of healing to her  p.104 disease.


    Concraid went to Ciaran, and told him what Eithne had said to him. They went together to the blackberries  234 spoken of above, and took them to Eithne, and she ate some of them, and they had the scent of wine and the taste of honey. And she was healed of all the love and all the sickness that she had. And it was little Easter (Lowtide) at that time.


    Eithne afterwards went to Ciaran and gave thanks to God and to Ciaran for her deliverance from the lust which had assailed her, and she confessed to him, and begged him to free her from every danger which might threaten her. Ciaran said: “I cannot free thee from the death which awaits thee; for a battle will be fought between the men of Munster and Leinster, and thou wilt fall there, and thy daughter and the king of Munster; and thou shalt receive the kingdom of heaven afterwards.” And all that Ciaran said was fulfilled; for Aengus son of Nadfraech fell in the battle of Cell Osnad by the Leinstermen, as Ciaran foretold.


    Another time there was an assembly of the Munstermen and Leinstermen in Ciaran's neighbourhood, to meet Patrick who was coming to baptize and instruct them in the word of God. There was no means of feeding them that night after the preaching, and Ciaran remained to satisfy them  235 in the name of God and Patrick.


    Ciaran bade his cook to minister to them. The cook said that it was impossible that they should be ministered to: “for night is at hand, and I have only seven oxen, and that is not support for every hundredth man of them there.” “Boil the seven oxen,” said Ciaran, “for it was no easier for Jesus to satisfy the five thousand with the five loaves and two fishes, than to satisfy us with those seven oxen.” That proved true; he satisfied all that were there, and each thought his own supper abundant. And he blessed the fountain afterwards, and it had the taste of wine or honey for every one who drank of it, so that the hosts were drunk as well as filled. So that the name of God, &c.


    On one occasion the king of Tara came on a hosting into Munster, and the Munstermen assembled against him, so that they faced each other in northern Eile. Ciaran besought God for help; and there arose a huge  236 wood between them, and a river in high flood, named Brosna, and it remains there still.


    So the armies separated; the men of Tara going to their homes, and the Munstermen remaining where they were for the night with Ailill king of Cashel. Ciaran sent a cow and a pig to them, and blessed them, so that they sufficed to satisfy the hosts, and with what was left (there was enough) for every man on the following day. So the name of God, &c.


    It was a custom with Ciaran for all his monks throughout  p.105 all the diocese that belonged to them, to come to receive the Communion at the hands of Ciaran every Christmas Day. He had a foster-mother named Cuinche, who lived at Ross Banagher in Southern Leinster (read: Munster). She was a devout widow. Ciaran, after celebrating the Mass of the Nativity at Saighir, used to go to her to Ross Banagher, and she would receive the Communion at his hands on the morrow, and he would be at Mass at Sáighir the same day, though there was a great distance between them.


    And he would go to pray together with Cuinche on a flood-surrounded rock, which was in the sea amid the waves to the south of Ross Banagher,  237 and it is still called Cuinche's rock. And he would return to Saighir the same day; and it is not known how he did it, unless it were angelic overshadowing from the Trinity which speeded him.


    Now there was an honourable lady in Ciaran's neighbourhood, called Eichill. She fell against a rock so that every bone of her was dislocated. This was lamented to Ciaran. He went to her, and said: “Arise,” said he, “in the name of the Trinity.” And the woman arose from death at once at the word of Ciaran, and gave thanks to God and to Ciaran, and gave land to him, to wit, Leim Eichille (Eichill's leap).


    A certain thief came westwards over Slieve Bloom, and stole a cow from Ciaran. Mist and unspeakable darkness rose against him, and a river in strong flood, so that he was drowned, and the cow returned to Ciaran again.


    Now there were three stewards of the king of Erin, collecting his dues in every place. It happened that one of them killed a friend of Ciaran without any guilt on his part, but (out of) mere tyranny of his lord. Cronan was the name of the youth. The news of this reached Ciaran, and he went in search of the youth, and found him at the end of seven  238 days from his death. And he awoke him at once by prayer to God for him. And Ciaran said to the king of Eile: “Arrest that criminal, and burn him afterwards in revenge for the evil which he did without cause.” And he did so.


    After this the king of Erin, Ailill Molt, was wroth with Ciaran for the death of his servant, and reviled him with words. In punishment for this God caused a strangling of his speech, so that he was seven days without speaking. Then the king went to Ciaran and prostrated himself in cross-vigil before him, and granted him his full will. Ciaran made the sign of the Cross over his mouth, and he spoke afterwards as he had done before, and they separated afterwards in peace and amity, to wit, the king and Ciaran.


    Bishop Germanus went from Patrick on a visit to  p.106 Ciaran. They go together into the stream to perform their devotions, according to Ciaran's wont. Germanus could not endure the water by reason of its icy coldness. Ciaran noticed this in him, and made a cross with his bachall on the stream, so that it seemed hot to Germanus after that.


    Then said Ciaran: “The son of the king of Cashel, Carthach, will come to us to-morrow, and he is a faithful foster-child of mine;  239 and catch,” said he, “the salmon which is passing by you.” Germanus did as Ciaran bade him, so that he had a salmon in readiness for Carthach on the morrow. Carthach came as Ciaran foretold, and he confessed to him, and took him as his soul-friend, and departed afterwards with his blessing, after completing his tour, and fulfilling his penance.


    There was a cruel king in the neighbourhood of Clonmacnois. He gave all his treasures to Ciaran of Cluain to keep. Ciaran distributed them to God's poor and to churches of the Saints. The king sent to demand them, and did not get them. He blamed Ciaran therefor, and imprisoned him, and said that he would not accept (any ransom) for him except sixty white cows with red ears. “God is able,” said Ciaran, “to do that. Loose my chains, that I may go in quest of them.” His chains were removed, and he went to Ciaran of Saighir.


    He found Brendan there on his arrival. They were greatly pleased and delighted at seeing Ciaran of Cluain. Ciaran of Saighir asked  240 his cook what provision he had for those high saints. “I have nothing,” said the cook, “except bacon, and it is greasy.” “Let it be prepared quickly,” said Ciaran, “and taken into the refectory,” This was done. Ciaran blessed it, and produced for them honey, wine, oil, and pottage. A certain monk said that he would not eat aught of them, because they had been made of the bacon. Ciaran answered: “Thou wilt desert thy habit,” said he, “and thou wilt eat meat in Lent, and do every kind of evil, and thou shalt not have heaven at last.”


    They ate their supper, and gave thanks afterwards, and Ciaran of Cluain said: “Let there be abundance of riches and prosperity in this place till doom.” “Let there be grace of learning and devotion on thy place continually,” said Ciaran of Saighir. Ciaran of Cluain told his errand. “Let us go in quest of them,” said Ciaran of Saighir and Brendan.


    They set out, and they had not been going long, when God sent (the kine) to them. And Ciaran of Cluain offered them to the king in place of his treasure. And after they had been given to the king, they all melted away  241 and vanished. When the king saw that, he prostrated himself before Ciaran, and prayed God to forgive him this fault; and he remitted all his treasure to Ciaran, and they were at peace after that.


    There was a rich man in Clonmacnois, and he was cunning in many kinds of evil. His name was Trichem. He went to Ciaran of Saighir. Now with Ciaran the Easter fire was never extinguished from one Easter to another. Trichem put out the fire. “Ill befell thee, thou devil,” said Ciaran, “to extinguish the fire; and we shall be without fire till next Easter, unless it comes from heaven. And thou shalt die forthwith; and wolves shall devour thy body”; and this was fulfilled.


    This was revealed to Ciaran of Cluain, and he went to Saighir. Ciaran (of Saighir) welcomed him, and when he saw that he had no fire wherewith to prepare food for these elders, he lifted up his hands to heaven, and entreated the Lord that fire might come to him. A ball of fire fell in his presence, and therewith their supper was boiled for them, and set before them.


    Said Ciaran of Cluain: “I will not touch food,” said he, “till the son of my household be brought to me.” “We knew that that was thine errand,” said Ciaran of Saighir, “and it is my will, if it be God's will, that that man come to thee whole and sound.” Thereupon he came at Ciaran's  242 word, and ate together with them; and departed thence with Ciaran to Cluain, and afterwards forsook the devilry that was in him.


    Once upon a time Ruadan of Lothra came on a visit to Ciaran. A demon came and put out Ciaran's fire. When Ciaran saw this, he blessed a huge stone, and struck flames of fire from it, and carried it all blazing in his hand into Ruadan's presence for him to warm himself at it.


    After this the hospitaller brought a pail of milk to the clerks. The demon came and spilt the milk and broke the pail. The pail was carried to Ciaran, and he made the sign of the Cross over it; and it was whole with its full of milk in it.


    When Ciaran's last days were approaching, he himself knew the time of his death, and he asked three requests of God before his death. The angel came to him and said that he should receive everything that he asked. “Every one,” said he, “who shall be buried in my monastery, that the gate of hell shall not be closed upon him”; and that every one who honoured and reverenced his festival, should have pre-eminence of stock and riches in the present life, and the kingdom of heaven in the other; and that pre-eminence in battle should rest upon the men of Ossory, and that they should never be ejected from their own territory, for he himself belonged to them by origin.


    Now it occurred to the mind of Finnian of Clonard that the last days of Ciaran were approaching. Finnian went to  243 visit him, for he was his tutor, for it was with him he studied his psalms and every kind of learning that he had; and a great many of the  p.108 saints of Ireland resorted to him, for he was tutor to a large proportion of them.


    There were thirty bishops with him of those who learned of him, and on every one of whom he had conferred priest's orders. And Ciaran went before them all into the church at the time of his death, and received Communion and sacrifice; and there came a multitude of angels to meet the soul of Ciaran, and bore his spirit with them to heaven, after pre-eminent fasting and repentance, after overcoming the devil and the world, to be welcomed by the family of heaven. He was buried in his own monastery at Saighir on the fifth day of the month of March with great honour and regard in the eyes of God and men. And though great was his honour on the day of his death, it will be greater in the assembly of the Judgement in the company of the nine heavenly orders, in the company of the apostles and disciples of God, in the company of the blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I entreat the mercy of God through the intercession of St. Ciaran, that we may attain to that company in secula seculorum. Amen. 90

    The End.


    7. Life of Ciaran of Saighir


    In this Life


    After Ciaran had studied the divine Scriptures in Rome, and had been made a bishop, Patrick met him in Italy and said to him: “Go before me to Ireland, and arrange a place for thyself in the middle of the island; and there shall be thy honour and thy resurrection.” Ciaran answered and said: “I do not know the place, and it is not easy for me to find it.” Patrick said: “Wherever this bell shall ring as thou bearest it, there settle.” Thereafter Ciaran came to Ireland, bearing some of the relics of St. Peter and St. Paul with him, and the bell (remained) dumb till he reached the valley bottom of Saighir, and there the bell sounded (lit. spoke), to wit, Ciaran's Bardan, which Germanus the smith made by the grace of God.


    Ciaran stopped at the place, and sat down under a tree there, and found a wild boar under the shade of the tree. The boar fled from Ciaran at first, but afterwards came back gently to him; and this boar was Ciaran's first monk, and cut with his tusks the wattles and (other) materials for the church. Afterwards other monks came to Ciaran, to wit, a fox, a badger, and a wolf, and were obedient to him.


    Now it fell out one day that the monk named Fox stole and carried off to his dwelling the hawks  91 of the abbot, to wit, St. Ciaran. So St. Ciaran sent the monk named Badger to track the fox and the hawks; and he found them. And when he had found them, he bit off the fox's two ears and his tail, and a great deal of his fur.


    Then the fox and the badger came to the saint, bringing the hawks uninjured.  144b Ciaran said to the fox: “Why didst thou do this wickedness?” said he, “for if thou didst desire to eat flesh, God could have made flesh for thee from the bark (lit.skins) of the trees, and our water would be sweet for drinking.” Then the fox did penance, that is a fast of three days.


    Now after Patrick came to Ireland, faith and devotion increased, and the number of holy men was multiplied; and of them was Brendan of Birr, whose settlement was close to Ciaran. Now Brendan [read: Ciaran] had a single cow; and Cairbre Crom (“the crooked”), steward of the king of Leinster, stole this cow; and when  p.110 he came to Slieve Bloom a dark black cloud enveloped him, so that he fell into the river and was drowned [lit. found death] in it; and the cow returned to Ciaran.


    Now St. Ciaran wished to send this cow to Brendan; and Brendan would not have the cow, saying that he would have no cows about him till doom. Now Ciaran was at that time in his (Brendan's) dwelling, and he said that he did not feel very well, and that he should like some milk. And Brendan ordered a little narrow brass vessel to be filled with water, and he blessed it, and made new milk of it. And this was brought to the guest house to Ciaran; and Ciaran blessed the milk and turned it into water. After this Brendan accepted the cow, and Ciaran thanked Brendan for receiving the cow again.


    Then said Ciaran to Brendan: “Let this cow fix for ever the division of our respective inheritances; that is to say as far as she goes grazing to-day, let the place  145a in which she stops be the boundary between us.” And the cow grazed that day as far as Achad Bo (the cow's field), and that is the boundary between Ciaran and Brendan.


    Now St. Ciaran of Clonmacnois was at that time in the power of King Forfige (Furbaide) on account of a cauldron belonging to the king which Ciaran had given to God's poor. And the king said to Ciaran: “If thou wouldst be set free, seek for seven sleek red calves with white heads.” Afterwards Ciaran of Clonmacnois came to Saighir where Ciaran of Saighir was, to ask him whether he could find the like of this ransom which was demanded of him, namely seven sleek red calves with white heads. And when Ciaran of Clonmacnois reached Saighir, he found there in the guest house the two Brendans, namely Brendan of Birr, and Brendan son of Findlugh.


    Ciaran of Saighir was delighted to see this company, and said to his cook: “What hast thou that we can set before these guests?” “There is a gammon of bacon,” said the cook, “but I bethink me that it is a fast.” “Set it before the guests, nevertheless,” said Ciaran; and it was taken to them; and it was found to be fish, and honey, and oil, through the word of Ciaran. And the name of God and of Ciaran was magnified thereby.


    But there was a lay-brother there, the son of the cook, and he would not sup with them, because he had seen the gammon of bacon in the cook's hands, and he did not wish (to eat) meat on a fast day. Ciaran of Saighir said to him: “Thou shalt eat beef red-raw in Lent, and that very hour thou shalt be slain by thine enemies, and shalt not receive the kingdom of heaven.” And this was fulfilled, as Ciaran said.


    And when this entertainment of the saints was finished,  p.111 Ciaran the elder of Saighir  145b went on the way with Ciaran of Clonmacnois to converse with him. And Ciaran of Clonmacnois said to Ciaran of Saighir: “Abundance of food and riches be in thine abode till doom.” And Ciaran of Saighir said to Ciaran of Clonmacnois: “Abundance of wisdom and consecrated oil be in thine abode till doom.”


    And after this the two Ciarans went to Achad Salchar on the bank of the river, and found the seven calves, smooth, red, and white-headed for which Ciaran of Clonmacnois was then under bond. And when Ciaran of Clonmacnois had gone forth free from the king, no trace was found of the seven calves. And the name of God, &c.


    On another occasion a youth named Crichid of Clonmacnois came to Saighir, and when he had been a few days there, on a certain day he, by the instigation of the devil, extinguished the consecrated fire which the monks maintained. And Ciaran said to the monks: “Do ye see that your consecrated fire has been extinguished by that devilish youth? and there will not be fire in this place till doom until fire comes to it from God.” And the youth who extinguished the fire went away on the morrow, and the wolves slew him. And the name, &c.


    And when the son of the wright (i.e. Ciaran of Clonmacnois) heard of the death of the youth, he came to seek him, and was honourably received; but there was no fire in the monastery of Saighir for his reception. Then Ciaran of Saighir arose, and entreated God, and fire came down from heaven into his bosom, and he carried it to the guest house. And when the guests had been warmed, and their supper had been set  146a before them, Ciaran of Clonmacnois declared that he would not touch food till the youth should come; and the youth arose as soon as ever he had said that, and partook of food. And the name, &c.


    A little while afterwards a clerk named Bardanus, one of the monks of that house, extinguished the fire of the monastery; and that very day Ruadan of Lothra came to Saighir, and there was no fire in the house to warm them withal. And Ciaran blessed a stone, and the stone blazed up, and Ciaran carried the fire in his hands to the house in which Ruadan of Lothra was, and it did not hurt his hands. And the name, &c.


    Another time after this the same Bardanus upset a cauldron full of milk; and Ciaran blessed the cauldron, and it thereupon became full.


    Now Liadain was Ciaran's mother, and she and her virgins lived near to him. And she had a comely fosterling named Bruitnech, a daughter of the king of Munster. And Daimene, the king of Cined  p.112 Fiachna heard a description of the beauty of the woman, and he came and carried her off, and she lived with him some days.


    After this Ciaran went to demand the maiden of the king, and he refused to give her to him. And he said to Ciaran that he would not let her go till he should be wakened by the voice of the cuckoo. On the morrow there was a heavy fall of snow, which covered the earth, but it did not come near Ciaran or his company;  146b and it was the winter season then. And early on the morrow the voice of the cuckoo was heard, and the king arose and prostrated himself before Ciaran, and gave his fosterling to him.


    And when Ciaran saw his fosterling coming to him, and her womb great with her pregnancy, he made the sign of the Sacred Cross over her, and her womb was decreased, and there was no appearance of pregnancy therein; and he took her back to the same place. And the name, &c.


    [The Irish translator has omitted a sentence telling how on the king attempting to carry off the maiden a second time she expired.] On a later day the king came to Ciaran in great wrath, and said: “Why hast thou killed my wife?” said he, “thou shalt not be in this place any longer, but I will sweep thee out of it.” Ciaran said: “Thou art not God, and I shall remain in my own place.”.


    The king went off in a furious rage to his own abode, Dun Croibhtine, and found it in a blaze. And the queen escaped, but forgot her favourite son in the house. And the queen said mournfully: “I place my son under the protection of Ciaran of Saighir.” Thereupon a wondrous miracle was wrought; the house was burnt, but the child was saved.


    Afterwards King Dairine and Bishop Aed came to Ciaran of Saighir, and the king submitted to Ciaran, and gave his two sons to Ciaran, namely Dunchad who had been delivered from the fire, and his other son, together with his descendants. When the king departed from Ciaran, he restored Bruitnech to life, and she was whole. And the name, &c.


    The king of Munster, Aengus son of Nadfraech, had seven harpers  147a who had come (to him) from their own lord out of Gaul. And they were murdered in Muscraige, and their bodies were hidden, so that no one knew (where they were); and Aengus was greatly concerned, not knowing what had become of his harpers.


    So he came to Ciaran of Saighir to seek for help. And Ciaran said to him: “Thy harpers have been drowned in a lake, and their harps are on a tree high up on the upper side above the lake.” “I entreat thee,” said the king to Ciaran, “come with me to seek them.” So Ciaran arose and some of his company, seven score in number,  p.113 with him, and went to the lake, and remained there three days and three nights praying and fasting.


    And after these three days were fulfilled, the lake ebbed, and the bodies were found on the shore. And Ciaran restored them to life after they had been a month under the lake. And they took their harps and played them, and sang their song, so that the king and his hosts fell asleep with the music. And from that time forth the lake has no water in it, and it is called Loch na Cruitenn (Lake of the Harps). And the name, &c.


    Once upon a time an officer of the king of Munster was traversing the district of Muscraige, and found a pig belonging to a holy man named Cáin, and the officer killed the pig, and carried it to a wood, and set it on the fire. And as he was seething it there, kernes came upon him and slew him, and twenty of his company with him, on the bank of the river Brosnach; and they departed forthwith,  147b and did not see the pig on the fire.


    This was revealed to Ciaran, and he went to where his forsterling was, to wit Carthach son of Aengus, son of Nadfraech, with a view to taking up the bodies, that the wolves might not eat them, and carrying them to his own place. And when Ciaran saw the number of the bodies, and that he had no means of transporting them, he said: “In the name of Jesus Christ rise up on your feet, and come with me to my church.” And they arose forthwith, the prefect and his company, whole and sound; and he also restored the pig to life, and it went off to its own master.


    So that noble company came with Ciaran; and this was Foda son of Forax and his family that were there, and they submitted to Ciaran together with their seed, and offered themselves to him entirely (lit. from the beginning); and were buried in his cemetery (lit. at him).


    A little while afterwards a captain of Aengus son of Nadfraech named Mac Ceisi was slain; and Ciaran prayed on his behalf, and he was restored to life, and went away whole. And the name, &c.


    There was a certain nobleman, named Mac Eirce, of the race of the Úi Duach,  92 who killed a chariot horse belonging to Patrick; and this man was seized and bound by Aengus. And Ciaran came to ransom him, and paid a great quantity of gold and silver. And as soon as he had taken off Mac Eirce with him, the gold and the silver disappeared. Aengus was wroth, and came to Ciaran, and said: “Give me my portion of gold and silver, for what thou gavest me is naught,  148a and a mere phantom.” And he spoke bitter words to Ciaran.


    And Ciaran said: “For thy portion of gold and silver thou shalt receive only a curse.” And as Ciaran said these words, darkness rose around the king, and he died. When Carthach saw his father fall, he was sad, and begged Ciaran to restore him to life. And Ciaran prayed for him, and he was whole, and Aengus did penance then, and offered himself and his seed to Ciaran. And the name, &c.


    Once as Ciaran was walking in the time of autumn, he reached out his hand to a bramble on which were some blackberries. And it was revealed to him by God, that he would have need of them on another occasion, and (therefore) he left some of them.


    Now in the following spring, after Easter, Aengus son of Nadfraech came on a visit to the house of Concra son of Dana (?) in the territory of Ossory, and he had his wife, Eithne, with him. And she fell in love with Concra, and would fain have lived with him as his wife, for Aengus was by that time an old man. And Concra refused this as long as Aengus lived.


    And when Eithne saw that she was rejected by Concra, she stirred up strife between the two kings Aengus and Concra. And at the end of the feast she pretended to be ill; and they all were inquiring what would relieve her. And she said, “It is not easy to find at this season the means of healing me; it is blackberries that would relieve me.”  148b And the king and his company were sad thereat, for it was impossible for them to get them (the berries) for her.


    And Concra was in great fear that Eithne would remain in his house after Aengus had departed, with a view to gaining her desire of him. So he went quickly to where Ciaran was, to tell him of the unreasonable desire which the woman had conceived for blackberries in the season after Easter. And Ciaran sent Concra to the bramble on which he had left the blackberries the previous autumn; and the berries were found as Ciaran had left them, and he collected them into a brazen vessel, and a white cloth was spread over them, and the queen ate of them and was well; the kings also partook of them, and they had the taste of honey, and the intoxicating property of wine.


    And Ciaran made peace between the two kings, Aengus and Concra, and Eithne fell on her knees before Ciaran, and gave thanks to him for his healing of her, and Concra offered himself and his seed to Ciaran. And the name, &c.


    Once on a time Laeghaire son of Niall with his host came against the Munstermen; and Ailill king of Cashel came to meet them. And Ciaran wished to make peace between them; but the arrogant kings paid no respect to Ciaran. Thereupon Ciaran prayed to God;  p.115 and that which he could not obtain from the arrogant kings, he obtained from God. For when the armies wanted to attack one another, the wood that was in front of the Munstermen lay down flat, and the river that was in front of the Ulstermen  149a rose to a great height, so that the Munstermen retired without engaging, and Laeghaire departed in like manner. And Ciaran regaled the men of Munster abundantly with one ox, and the shoulder of another. And the name, &c.


    Once upon a time kernes of the Clanna Fiachrach came seeking to steal swine from the borders of Munster, and concealed themselves in a wood. And Lonan son of Nadfraech, Aengus's brother, received intelligence of their being there; and he went against them. And they prayed to Ciaran for help. And as they prayed, the wood was forthwith in a blaze. And when Lonan saw this, he turned back. And the other company went to Ciaran, and became monks under him to the day of their death. And the name, &c.


    Once upon a time Patrick came to Saighir and ten of the kings of Munster with him. And for them Ciaran provided a banquet of three days and three nights with seven kine that he had. And he blessed a spring, and made wine thereof, so that they were merry, satiated, and joyful. And the name, &c.


    Once on a time Ciaran's cellarer said to him: “We have no pigs, and we must buy some.” And Ciaran said: “We will not,” said he, “but the King who provides us with food and clothing, He will provide us with pigs.” Early the next morning they found a sow and twelve young pigs  149b in the middle of the homestead; whereof were bred large numbers of pigs. And the name, &c.


    Another time his cellarer said to Ciaran: “We have no sheep.” Ciaran said: “He who gave us pigs, will give us sheep.” The next morning the cellarer found twenty-seven white sheep in front of the homestead. And the name, &c.


    Another time Ciaran restored to life Laeghaire son of Fintan, and he remained alive a great number of years in the mortal body, and afterwards he gave his land as an offering to God and to Ciaran.


    Another time Ciaran's oxen would go westward to the sea to the chapel of Cochae, Ciaran's foster-mother, to plough for her. And when they had finished the ploughing, they would return to Saighir without any man to guide them.


    Another time Ciaran went on Christmas Eve after service to the chapel of Cochae at Drumbanagher, and returned to Saighir in the morning.


    There is a stony rock in the western sea where Cochae, Ciaran's foster-mother, used to perform her solitary devotions amid the sea-waves; and Ciaran used to go where Cochae was on the rock, and return therefrom without boat or ferry.


    One day Ciaran came to Cochae's chapel, and a great  150a company of people with him. And hospitality was given to him there, to wit, a gammon of bacon. And Ciaran blessed the gammon, and made wheat and honey and fish thereof, and other noble foods; and he blessed a fountain of water that was in the place, and made wine thereof. And the number of those who were sufficed therewith was eight hundred and forty. And the name, &c.


    Another time Ciaran came to Rathdowney, and sat in council there with a great company of people. And there was there a certain King Cobranus who had deadly eyes. And he saw a grandson of Aengus son of Nadfraech coming towards them, and he looked upon him with his poisonous eyes, and the boy died at once.


    And when Ciaran saw that, he was greatly angered against the king; and the king went blind forthwith. The king prostrated himself before Ciaran, and he restored his sight to him; and he (the king) gave himself and all his seed to him (Ciaran). And he raised to life again the youth who had been previously killed by the poison of the king's eye. And the name, &c.


    Another time Ciaran?s mother, Liven, had a foster-daughter, and Ciaran had a foster-son, Carthach, grandson of Aengus, son of Nadfraech; and they bore a carnal love to one another. And they made an assignation in order to gratify their desire. And as soon as they saw one another's face, the wood blazed between them, and they fled from one another. And from that day forth the woman could not see a thing; and Carthach was banished over sea for seven years, and after penance studied the divine scriptures.  150b And the name, &c.


    Another time Liven, Ciaran's mother, had some flax drying on the wall of the house; and it caught fire, and the house was set on fire thereby. And Ciaran saw this, though afar off; and he raised his hand, and sained the house, and extinguished the fire, and the house was saved from burning. And the name, &c.


    Another time a maiden was captured by her enemies, and they cut off her head. And when Ciaran saw this, he prayed on her behalf, and restored her to life. And the name, &c.


    Another time Liven's priest, Cerpanus, was travelling along the road, when he died. And Ciaran prayed for him, and he was restored to life. And the name, &c.


    Another time the mother of Brendan of Birr, named  p.117 Mansenna, came to Saighir, and she desired to go into exile on Oilén Doimle. But Ciaran said: “Go not,” said he, “for it is not there that thy resurrection shall be, but thou shalt die at Tallaght, and there shalt thou arise, and thy son Brendan. And when his body is borne from that place to his own monastery, there will be a great brightness  151a that night between the two places.” And this was fulfilled in the case of Brendan and of his mother.


    (Here are) some additional miracles of his. Two brothers named Odran and Medran (came) to Ciaran from Latteragh in Muscraige; and they desired to go into exile in Ossory. But when they came to Saighir, Medran wished to remain there with Ciaran. But Odran told him not to remain, and begged Ciaran not to detain him. Ciaran said: “Let God decide between us, whether he shall remain with me, or go with thee. Let him take a lamp without oil or fire, and if the lamp catches fire when he breathes on it, he shall remain with me.”.


    And so it was done, and the lamp caught fire, and Medran remained with Ciaran till his death. And Ciaran said to Odran: “By whatever way thou shalt go, thou shalt come whole to Muscraige at last, and when Columba son of Crimthann shall be carried, concealed in wheat, to his burial by thee and Mochaimhe of Terryglass, thou shalt come, O Odran, to thine own monastery, and in it shall be thy resurrection.”


    A lady named Achaill fell out of her chariot and was killed; and Ciaran restored her to life at the end of the third day. And she gave the land called Léim Achaill (Achaill's leap) to God and to Ciaran. And the name, &c.  93


    Another time Fergus Cindfaelad (F. of the Wolfs head), chief of the king of Munster's household, came and strangled Ciaran's hospitaller, named Cronan; and Ciaran restored him to life after seven days.  151b Ciaran said: “As Cronan was strangled, so shall Fergus be strangled, and his body shall be burned in Rath Lochmaighe by the men of Eile.”


    After this Ailill, king of Munster, came to demand his officer from Ciaran, and when Ciaran heard this, he deprived him of speech for seven days, and at the end of the seventh day the king came where Ciaran was, and prostrated himself before him. And when Ciaran saw this, he restored his speech to the king. And the name, &c.


    Another time a lay brother of Ciaran's, named Gobranus, was in great dread of a violent death (lit. death by [sword]-point), and entreated Ciaran that he might not die by such a death. And Ciaran  p.118 said: “I cannot obtain 94 from God that thou shalt not die in that way, but I will obtain what is better, that thou shalt not go to hell.” And so it was done.


    Cainnech and Brigit were talking together in a solitary place; and Cainnech said to Brigit: “Great was the boon which God granted to Ciaran of Saighir; namely that he got out of hell the soul of a monk who had shed blood; and he said that he himself would remain in hell in place of the monk, unless he were released to him; and he was released.” And the name, &c.


    One day Ciaran's herdsman came to him, and said: “One of our oxen has run away.” It was an ox that had been calved by the cow which Brendan had, and it was red with a white stocking. Ciaran said: “Go to Glenn Damhain (Glen of the young ox) and there thou wilt find it, and a herd besides, which thou wert not looking for.” And the servant  152a went to the glen, and found the ox, as Ciaran had said, and seven score kine with it. And the name, &c.


    One night Ciaran went into a pool of cold water, and a pilgrim named Germanus with him. The cold took great effect on Germanus. Ciaran blessed the water and made it hot.


    Ciaran said to Germanus: “Dost thou see Carthach coming towards us from the road to-night? Look beside thee for something that we may set before him.” And he stretched out his hand and caught a great salmon, and threw it out on the land.


    After this Ciaran went to St. Martin's city (Tours), and brought with him relics of St. Martin with great joy.


    Three boons did God give to Ciaran; (the first), that whoever should be buried within his wall, hell should not be closed upon him; the second boon, that whoever should observe his day worthily, should never come to poverty; the third boon, that so long as any tenant remained in his (Ciaran's) place, no hostile power should ever prevail against him.


    After this Ciaran asked of God a fountain, and the angel showed one to him; and it would heal every disease if washed in.


    And these were the virtuous customs of Ciaran all his life; he never wore woollen clothing, but skins of wolves and other brute beasts; and he avoided all dainty (lit. worldly or secular) meats, and all intoxicating drinks; and he took but little sleep. And there was a continual attendance of angels about him. And the bishops  152b and priests that he ordained were innumerable. Four hundred years did he live without disease external or internal, without loss of teeth or shortness of breath, with eyesight undimmed,  p.119 and hearing unimpaired, with heart and senses unblunted (lit. unblinded). For though the enemy of the human race blunts (blinds) the senses, he got no power of doing so in Ciaran's case.


    Moreover, if any injury were done to him, he would always do some good thing in return, for he always forgave injuries. He would labour with his hands for the love of God, to get what they wanted for the poor. And so he passed his life in this world as to receive the crown of eternal life in the world to come. Who is there who could maintain in this world in the human body a life like Ciaran's, in fastings and abstinences, in cold and watching, in chastity and hospitality (lit. house of guests)?


    And so he spent his life from infancy till death, in daily prayer, study, and preaching, and in bearing judgement, whether silently or in speech. He was compassionate, prudent, steadfast, merciful, virtuous, humble to God and to his neighbour, teaching his monks in accordance with the words of the apostle Paul. For these are the words of Paul: “Imitate me,” says Paul, “as I have imitated Christ, to receive honour from God and [? not] from men; and seek not anything for the sake of worldly glory, but for God.”


    And he neglected none of the commandments of God, but (gave) bread to the hungry, and drink to the thirsty, welcomed  153a strangers, and visited the sick, (giving) alms to the poor and clothes to the naked. And the motive for which he did so was this, that he might obtain his portion in the life everlasting, and for fear of the reproof of God in the presence of the judgement. And Ciaran bade his monks to maintain these commandments, that is to have love one to another.


    And Ciaran prophesied that seven would come after him who would perform and maintain this rule; but that every man who should come after that would not fulfil that rule, nor would they receive their portion in the Kingdom of God.


    And when the time of Ciaran's death drew near, he became utterly diseased; and he summoned all his congregation together round him, and said to them: “Now is my Lord calling me to Himself, and I am sad to leave my flock, and I commend you to God and to Carthach with my blessing. And I exhort you to rule this place with good customs; and let no son of perdition remain long among you, for if he does, your days will be cut short.”


    “And a time will come when there will be many terrible plagues which will destroy churches, and they will be desolate; and truth will be turned into a lie, and baptism will not keep its proper character (lit. colour), and as to the thing about which they will be contending, it will be about a foreigner, and not about ourselves. O dear brothers, pray with me to God that I may not go to Him alone, but that I may take  p.120 others with me; and that my way to the King may not be a dark way,  153b and that He may give me welcome.”


    Then he went to the altar with an offering, and received the Body of Christ; and bade three worthy members of his congregation to guard his body, and said to them: “Open the earth to the extent of three handbreadths, and bury me with the other holy men, and with Martin, and let no man know this secret place.” Then his soul parted from his body at midnight; and thereupon his soul was carried with great light and with the brilliance of angels to the kingdom of heaven, and thirty bishops with him.


    And the monks stood around the body of Ciaran, singing hymns and canticles and other songs of praise, and with unguents such as spices and the like, and with great light, seven days and seven nights. And after this he was swathed in great quantities of white linen cloths, and was buried in them, against his resurrection in the light of the Judgement. And he is now in heaven with Patrick and Martin, and with great numbers of saints besides, to whom is paid reverence and honour for ever and ever. Amen. 95

    The End.


    COLOPHON In Coill an Iubhair (Wood of the Yew) in the convent of the brothers of Athlone, I wrote the life of Ciaran the first time, from the book of Aedh O'Dalachan the Younger, of Liscloony in Meath, and I have copied it again now on the Drowes, Feb. 18, 1629..


    8. Life of Coemgen (I)


    In this Life


    Now it was (foretold) in type and prophecy that there would come a high saint, noble and honourable, in Leinster, namely in Glendalough, to speak particularly, to rescue and repel men from paganism by the preaching of the word of God, for the healing of leper, and blind, and deaf, and lame, and all kinds of sick folk, to raise the dead, to put down the mighty and lift up the wretched, and to drive away plagues and pestilences, to check thieves and crimes and strange monsters, and to instruct all kinds of perverted folk who opposed the will of God.


    Now Patrick, son of Calpurnius, the chief apostle of Erin, prophesied of this Coemgen thirty years before his birth, and that he would cause a chief city (monastery) to be built in the aforesaid glen, for the refection of companies and strangers, of guests and pilgrims, and that he would bring with him to Glendalough some of the mould and relics of the apostles and righteous men who are at Rome.


    And it is written in this life that for the obtaining remission of sins from God it is the same for any one to visit Rome, and (to visit) the relics and bed of Coemgen, as is customary, with penitence, and humility, and lowliness of heart.


    Find mac Cumaill prophesied likewise, that Coemgen would overcome the horrible monster in the lesser lake of the same glen, that was destroying every one, and drive it into the other lake. Therefore men and cattle, and all kinds of sick folk come to be healed and cured in the water of the lesser lake in honour of God and of Coemgen.


    When then all these prophesies were fulfilled, the promised one came, to wit, Coemgen son of Caemlug, son of Caimet, son of Rimid, son of Corb,  274b son of Fergus Lamderg (Red-hand), son of Messincorb, son of Cucorb.


    And his mother became pregnant, namely Caemell daughter of Cendfinnan, son of Cise, son of Lugaid; and this Caemell was mother of Caeman, Sanctlethan, and Nadchaeme of Terryglass; and of Caemell of Cell Caemille; Mincloth mother's sister to Coemgen, it was of her that Colum son of Crimthann was born.


    At the time of Coemgen's birth no pains of labour nor pangs of childbearing came to his mother, as to other women, for innocent, faithful, righteous was the offspring that she bore. And the high  p.122 King of righteousness, the King of Heaven, sent twelve angels with golden lamps to his baptism. And the angels gave him the name of Coemgen (fair birth), that is beauteous shining birth.


    And the angels told the women to take the child to be baptized to the noble honourable patron saint, Cronan, in the Fortuatha (foreign tribes) of Leinster. And he (Cronan) afterwards baptized him, and offered himself to Coemgen to be of his family, that all others might the more readily believe in him. And he prophesied that kings and chiefs would believe in him, and that he would do mighty works and great miracles.


    After this the child was taken to the fort in which he was born. And God wrought great wonders and miracles in honour of God and Coemgen in respect of this fort; for however great the frost and snow on every side of it, it never penetrates within, and beasts and cattle in time of cold and snow habitually find grass there.


    A brilliantly white cow used to come for the infant's feeding, and it was not known from what booly or byre it came, nor whither it retired. In times of fasting and abstinence the child would only suck its mother's breasts once (a day). An angel commanded Coemgen to enter an order for monks for instruction,  275a and he submitted to ordination, and became an elect priest.


    Great was his courage afterwards in separating from the glory and beauty of the present life, and remaining in solitude listening to the converse of the angel who ministered to him. He would lie by night on bare stones on the border of the lake; skins of wild beasts were his clothing.


    He would cross the lake without any boat to the rock to say Mass every day, and remained without fear or dread above the lake.


    There was a horrible and strange monster in the lake, which wrought frequent destruction of dogs and men among the fiana of Erin. Coemgen recited his psalms, and entreated the Lord, and He drove the monster from him into the other lake. That is to say, the lesser lake, in which the monster (originally) was, is the place where now help of every trouble is wrought both for men and cattle; and they all leave their sicknesses there, and the sicknesses and diseases go into the other lake to the monster, so that it does not injure any one. And when the monster turns its other side upwards, the lake rises to the level of the peaks of the mountain, and he who sees it does not live a week. Seven years was Coemgen without food but nettles and sorrel; and for a long  p.123 period of years he never saw a single human being; and he would stand up to his waist in the lake saying his hours.


    One time when Coemgen was reciting his hours, he dropped his psalter into the lake; and great grief and vexation seized him. And the angel said to him: “Do not grieve,” said he. Afterwards an otter came to Coemgen bringing the psalter with him from the bottom of the lake, and not a line or letter was blotted (lit. drowned).


    The angel told Coemgen to go to teach and preach  275b the word of God to the peoples, and not to hide himself any longer. There was a farmer in the Leinster district named Dimma, son of Fergna. He it was who was destined to find Coemgen. One of the farmer's cows lighted upon the saint, and licked his feet; and its (yield of) milk was extraordinarily greater than that of the other cows.


    When Dimma heard of this, he sent the herdsman to find out how the cow came to have this abundance of milk. The herdsman found Coemgen in the hollow of a cave, and the cow licking his feet. Coemgen begged him to conceal him. “Not so,” said the herdsman, “I must needs give a true account to Dimma.” And Dimma extracted the account from him with difficulty; for Coemgen had promised him heaven in return for concealing him.


    After this Dimma and his children went to the hollow in which Coemgen was; and they made a litter for him out of respect and honour. And the wood was thick, and it lay down upon the ground, leaving a broad road for the litter to pass; (and when it had passed) it rose up again through the mighty works of the angel. And Coemgen promised hell and a short life to any one who should burn either green wood or dry from this wood till doom.


    One son of Dimma was a-hunting, and did not come to carry the patron saint. His own dogs slew him, and finally ate him. Coemgen brought the son to life again; and told his father and his brothers that they should always form part of Coemgen's family, and offer themselves to him, both men and cattle; and they were exiles from the region of Meath.


    Coemgen blessed them after his wrath had passed away at their carrying him out of the hollow by force, as had been prophesied to them.

    Coemgen ordained that the erenagh in his church  276a should be habitually of the children and posterity of Dimma, though they were exiles from Meath. Then Coemgen inhabited a chief monastery in the glen.


    In the time of Lent Coemgen went into a wattled hut erected on a bare stone, standing in cross-vigil for six weeks for the sake of God. A blackbird perched on the saint's hand, and built a nest, (remaining there) till she hatched her young. The angel told Coemgen to leave the hut. Coemgen said: “It is no great thing for me to bear thus  p.124 much pain for the sake of Heaven's King, who bore every pain on behalf of Adam's seed upon the Cross of suffering.”


    “Come out of the hut,” said the angel. “I will not come,” said he, “till I obtain from God the freedom of my successors and my monks and of my tributaries, and the maintenance of my churches within and without.” The angel gave to him seven times the full of the glen in the Day of Judgement, and a little spear of red gold in the hand of Coemgen. It is madness and folly in any one who hears the miracles of Coemgen, not to be under tribute to him, for God gave heaven to every one who should be buried in the mould of Coemgen; and God gave to him every Saturday nine to be rescued from pain of hell, if it be according to desert that it is considered. 96 Every one, however, who shall die on Friday and be buried on a Saturday under the mould of Coemgen, shall receive remission for his soul.


    For this cause many kings and chiefs among the kings of Erin, and of Britain, chose to be buried in Glendalough for love of God and Coemgen. There are relics of the apostles hard by Coemgen's hut to go with him to the judgement of doom in the presence of the Lord.


    No single saint in Erin ever obtained more from God than Coemgen, save Patrick only; for Coemgen brought mould of Rome with him as I said. Moreover, Glendalough is one of the four best cemeteries (lit. Romes of burial) in Erin.


     276b One day Coemgen saw a young man running towards him, and he was a clerk. He recognized by his voice and appearance that he had committed the crime of murder. Coemgen conducted him back (to the scene of the crime) and found a young man dead, as I said before. And he brought him to life again, and made a monk of him.


    Moreover, the things which sick and morbid folk had a desire and craving for, Coemgen would supply to them, such as blackberries in winter, apples on willow trees, and (would cause them) to find habitually sprigs of sorrel (growing) on rocks in winter time.


    Some hunters passed through the glen and set their dogs at a wild boar, which rushed to the protection of Coemgen, and the feet of the dogs clave to the ground, so that they could not pursue their natural enemy while under the protection of the saint.


    Now Colman son of Coirpre, son of Cormac, son of Ailill, son of Dunlang, son of Enda Nia, was chief of Ui Muiredach (at this  p.125 time). And sprites used to carry off his children by druidism. A son was born to him subsequently. He sent him to Coemgen to be baptized, and placed him under the protection of the saint. And Coemgen loved the infant, and took him as his foster-child afterwards.


    There was shortness of milk in Glendalough at that time. Coemgen saw a doe and her fawn, and commanded her to give half her milk and lactage to his foster-child, Faelan son of Colman, from whom are (descended), the Clann Tuathail, that is the Ui Faelain. But a wolf came to the doe, and killed her fawn. Then Coemgen wrought great miracles. He commanded the wild wolf to take the place of the fawn with the doe. In the hollow stone which stands above Droichet na h-Eillte, (Bridge of the Doe) the doe would leave every day enough of her milk and  277a lactage to satisfy the child; and in this way was Faelan nourished by the wonderful works of God and Coemgen.


    His tutor said to Coemgen: “We will not remain in the same place, for it has been prophesied of thee, that thou wouldest do great wonders.” So thereupon he went his way.


    One day when Coemgen had gone by reason of his youth to tend sheep, there came to him a band of needy starving men, to ask food of him for the honour of God. To protect his honour and modesty he killed eight wethers. Yet the number of the flock was none the less.


    Coemgen was in Cell Iffin during Lent. An otter used to bring a salmon every day to the convent for their supply. It occurred to Cellach that a fine, splendid glove might be made of the otter's skin. The otter, though a (mere) brute beast, understood his thought; and from that time ceased to perform his service to the monks. When Cellach perceived this, he confessed his thought to Coemgen. Coemgen sent him to Cell Cellaig.


    God saved the modesty of Coemgen at that time. The seed that was sown in Cell Iffin in the morning, would be ripe before evening. And thus were his monks supplied.


    Some musicians came to Coemgen to ask food of him, and the saint had no food by him at the time. And he bade them wait for him. And they would not, but began insulting the clerk. Thereupon their wood instruments were turned into stones in punishment for the insult done to the saint; and the figures of them still remain on the causeway to the east of the place.


    Two women were walking in the termon-land of Coemgen. Robbers fell in with them and murdered them,  277b and cut off their heads. Coemgen came upon them, and brought them to life again, and made black (i. e. Benedictine) nuns of them in his own church.


    Coemgen foretold that treachery and murder would be committed in his church, and he foretold the ravaging of the church and of the  p.126 congregation. He promised punishment for all these things, to wit, short life, and hell at the last. And he chose four diseases to wreak vengeance on the body of every one who should outrage his church, or his successors, or his congregation; namely tumour, scrofula, anthrax, and madness; and no leech or physician can cure these diseases, save only the Healer, Jesus Christ.


    Coemgen's successor has a right to his school, and folk to carry and guard his relics, and tribute in proportion to their means of every one of the Leinster men, whether high or low. Thus did Coemgen leave the protection of his fair and family (to every one) both high and low, both friends and foes; guarantees, and ownership, and protection to them all in coming and going, without summons, or question, or suit, or judgement, or action for debt by one against another, and so forth.


    From the book of the priest, Roibned Purcell, was this small fragment of the life of Coemgen written the first time in Cloch Uateir near Leighlinn, in the province of Leinster, on the 16th day of September, 1629. And the same scribe, the poor friar Michael O'Clery, wrote it out a second time on this paper in the convent of the brethren on the Drowes the 5th 97 day of September, 1629.


    9. Life of Coemgen as written by a monk named Solomon who was his own disciple


    In this Life

  • Search made Coemgen through great part of Erin
    With the angel duly,
    To find a place in which to perform (ascetic) devotion;
    He did not rest till he found it.
  • Coemgen crossed the summits
    With the angel — 'twas great swiftness —
    He built a monastery among the glens;
    The heavenly Father blessed it from above.
  • Wherever Coemgen performed ascetic devotion,
    He planted Gaels beside him,
    Henceforth they fast dangerously
    Right often in the sacred dwelling.
  • A glen without threshing floor or corn rick,
    Only rugged rocks above it;
    (Yet) a glen where no one is refused entertainment,
    (For) the grace of the Lord is there.
  • A glen dreadful, monster-haunted, frightful,
    Glen da Loch (Glen of the two lakes) was (its name) once
    Finn of the hundred heroes prophesied,
    That it would be a cemetery at last.
  • Patrick the son of Calpurnius prophesied
    (Saying) that the glen of the cliffs pleased him,
    'On the side of it, (in spite of) whoever shall reproach,
    A saint will make his abode there.'
  •  ii
  • Thirty years exactly
    After the prophecy of him by the tonsured one,
    Was the time that was born
    The saint named Coemgen.
  • The mother of the child did not feel
    Heartburn or pain in her conception;
    Women take him without question or vexation
    To Cronan to have him baptized.
  •  p.128
  • God sent an angel from heaven
    Before the infant was baptized,
    Who persuaded through pure intent
    That his name should be Coemgen.
  • The angel met the women,
    He said to them without contention:
    'The loving God has persuaded me
    To come to baptize the infant.
  • 'God confides most in me
    In respect of the infant who will be a high saint;
    I am the mighty untiring angel,
    Who will be perpetually accompanying him.
  • 'Take up the infant, O women!
    It is I who entreat it,
    I will baptize it without ... without ... 98
    In the high name of the Trinity.'
  • Twelve angels, as was fitting,
    God sent after them in his honour; 278b
    A taper of gold with pure flame
    Was in the hand of each angel.
  • This was his attendance from heaven,
    While his baptism was being performed;
    He who bound his lot aright,
    (Was) his own guardian angel.
  • This is the name which God fashioned in heaven,
    Which shall cleave to the child;
    Consider, O women of fair attendance,
    That this is his baptismal name, Coemgen.
  •  iii
  • “The angel said to the women:”
    “Do not neglect the matter of Cronan;”
    “Show the infant to him;”
    “He will tell you the truth.”
  • (Cronan said) “Why have ye brought, O women,”
    “Your little infant to me?”
    “Nobler than I is he who baptized him,”
    “So that I cannot do it.”
  •  p.133
  • “The baptism which the God of Heaven ordained”
    “Is that which was conferred upon the infant;”
    “His own angel knows it;”
    “'Tis he that will be at his disposal in perpetuity.”
  • Cronan made a prophecy
    And welcome for the infant, p.129
    And said: “The lands shall be”
    “Zealously under Coemgen's tribute.”
  • “I give in behalf of the King of heaven”
    “Myself to thee specially,”
    “So that thy estimation may be greater with all men,”
    “If I am thy first servant.”
  • Then his own angel gave
    After this a wise commission;
    He was like the pure sun,
    Like strongly blazing fire.
  • When the business of the infant was finished,
    He was taken to his loving angel.
    The melodious gentle women take him
    With them to the fort in which he was born.
  • Sacred the fort in which Coemgen was born,
    'Tis the grace of the infant which causes it;
    Never did frost nor snow conceal
    The sod on which he was brought forth.
  • The snow of winter when it comes,
    Hinders grazing for every one's kine;
    Through the grace of God in his (Coemgen's) fort unconcealed
    A herd will find abundant pasture.
  • There was further sent for his nourishment
    To the infant a pure white cow;
    A cow of which it was not known whence it came,
    Nor to what herd it went.
  •  279aTill the hour of refection every Friday,
    And each privileged fast-day,
    The breasts of his mother, sacred the rule,
    He would only suck once.
  • There would come moreover to visit him
    His own angel delightfully;
    He would be continually perceiving
    That it was time for him to be put to study.
  • He parted from friends — better the business —
    His own angel guiding him;
    For seven years, it was a prosperous (?) craft,
    He was in an order of monks being instructed.
  •  p.130
  • He followed his order, though harsh the rule,
    He remained in retirement studying it;
    He received the noble orders of a priest;
    He acquired every serviceable accomplishment.
  • The angel said to him steadfastly:
    'Here shall not be thine abiding,
    Remain not thus in a desert glen
    Of whom Finn prophesied.'
  • The prophecy of Finn was fulfilled,
    And that of Patrick son of Calpurnius;
    He reached the slope of the loughs afterwards,
    As was destined for Coemgen.
  • 'Now it is pleasant to my heart,
    I give thanks therefor to God,
    My going to the glen is a good fortress,
    And only my angel will be at my disposal.'
  • He was fleeing from the world,
    Fear of its peril possessed him;
    He would have preferred, had it not been wrong,
    To go from it forthwith to heaven.
  • Afterwards he slept not on a couch,
    But a pillow of hard stone under his head;
    As if every pasture were without hardness, (?)
    He was concealing himself in a hard hollow.
  • Coemgen was among stones
    On the border of the lake on a bare bed,
    With his slender side on a stone,
    In his glen without a booth over him.
  • Hard was his bed on the flag-stone,
    Stretched out till morning without beauty;
    He did not seek for anything easier in the world,
    Though it were harder (still), he would persevere in it.
  • In the dread valley of the branching trees
    Not beauteous was the clothing of the saint;
    (With) skins of wild animals about him,
    He would be among the mountains.
  • Coemgen would go on the broad pool
    Without boat or ferry daily,
    To say Mass on his skerry,
    A place well-pleasing to God.
  •  p.131
  • He would be with no one near him,
    All alone under the tops of the branches;
    The angels were his clerks,
    Right melodious to them was the service of the saint.
  • Fearless and undismayed he would be
    In his cave responding to God,
    And the lough below him like the ocean
    Scoring the rocks near by.
  •  iii b99
  • Dread was the monster of the miry lough
    In wreaking harm and slaughter;
    Often did it defeat the “fían”,
    And Finn himself with great terror.
  • Coemgen took up his position in the lough of the scald-crow
    Early, as was pleasing to God,
    And drove the monster into the lesser lake;
    It will not be listening to the canonical hours.
  • Coemgen would recite diligently
    His psalms around it early;
    The good saint expelled without any residue
    The drop-poison of the monster from the lough.
  • This was the baneful black lough
    In which was the furious monster;
    To-day it is the sacred wonder-working lough,
    Which overcomes every trouble.
  • Plagues were removed from the kine of the Gaels
    By Coemgen — holy was the scion —
    And (by) driving them through the lough to cleanse them,
    They do not carry their sickness away with them.
  • The gracious lough removes from them
    Their sickness with (its) great anguish,
    It (the sickness) goes into the stream towards (lit. to visit) the monster,
    Water without any residue (of the poison) remaining.
  •  iv
  • Strong was the bond which Coemgen imposed,
    He defeated the monster of the fair lough;
    He imprisoned tight and fast
    Its body in the lair in which it is.
  •  p.136
  • When turns from one side to the other
    Each year the monster that is there,
    The lough rises on high blood-red
    Level with the crags above it.
  •  p.132
  • (It is one) of the wonders of the lesser lough,
    (Great the danger to him who sees it,)
    Not another day nor night afterwards
    Will he remain alive.
  • 100Gidh iomdha na fagbála
    Do fhácc Caoimhgin 'na ghlendaibh
    Se féin ar tí a thárthála,
    Ar gach áon n-achar chennaigh. 101
  •  279bSeven years in tangled deserts
    Wert thou in gentle sort,
    Dwelling beside thy people,
    Without food, except (the fruits of) Cáel Fáithe.
  • Coemgen (was) for length of years
    Among deserts in woods,
    And he saw no man,
    Nor did any man see him there.
  •  v
  • Far from his friends was Coemgen
    Steadfastly among the crags;
    Nobly and alone he saw the order
    Which was brought to the brink of the fair lough.
  • At night he would rise without fear
    To perform his devotion in his fort;
    There he would early recite his hours
    (Standing) habitually in the lough up to his girdle.
  • At the end of night on a surface of snow
    He would arise, as he was wont, early;
    After he had victoriously recited his psalms,
    His psalter fell into the lough.
  • The psalter fell headlong
    From (the hands) of Coemgen of the hard devotion,
    No letter nor lesson was the worse
    For (all) the water or gnawing which it got. 102
  •  p.137
  • The angel came to converse
    With Coemgen full of grace;
    He remained with him till an otter brought
    His little book to him from the lough.
  • The holy angel said to him:
    “Thou shalt not be in the glen alone,”
    “Since it is thy destiny to be seen of men,”
    “Thou shalt not conceal thyself any longer.”.
  •  p.133
  • There was a hundred-cow farmer
    On the borders of sea-girt Leinster;
    He was a prudent hero
    Named Dima son of Fergna.
  • To him it had been prophesied
    That he should light on Coemgen in the glen;
    It was not long after this
    That the patron saint was found by him there.
  • One of Dima's cows lighted
    On Coemgen in the hollow of a tree;
    An angel came to protect him,
    When he turned his back on men.
  • The cow did not remain on the pasture of the wilderness,
    But (was) licking the feet of the saint;
    She yielded more milk
    Than half the cows of the place where she was (put together).
  • Dima wondered greatly
    At the way the cow had grazed; 280b
    He bade his herdsman follow her,
    And find out for him the cause of it.
  • Dima told his household
    To follow the cow early;
    They did not find its track before them
    On the slope above Glendalough.
  • When the kine of Dima came
    Eagerly to graze in the glen,
    Their herdsman lighted on a fruitful tree,
    He found Coemgen easily in it.
  • There was offered by Coemgen to the herdsman
    A reward in return for concealing him from every one;
    He offers him heaven — he had power to do that —
    And not to go to pasture 103 for ever.
  • “The cow of Dima comes,”, said the herdsman,
    “Going backwards and forwards to thee in the glen;”
    “To conceal thee is not in (my) power”
    “After seeing thee clearly there.”.
  •  p.134
  • Sooner did the cow than the herdsman
    Find Coemgen in the green wood in which he was,
    She having remained with (Coemgen) continually,
    And returning home at night.
  • Not willingly did the herdsman confess,
    To Dima the movement of the cow,
    Till he bound him closely in his fort,
    So that he told the matter to him.
  • Dima said to his noble offspring
    That they would go to the glen where the cow was found,
    That they might bring with them the pure saint,
    And that they would all believe him.
  • In Dima's mind was great gladness
    That he should be found in his hollow in his (Dima's) time;
    He said to his children courteously:
    “Let us make neatly a litter for him”.
    There was.
  •  vii
  • “Fulfilled is now Finn's prophecy,”
    “And that of Patrick son of Calpurnius”
    Said Dima to them severally,
    “And it is we who have found the promised one.”
  • “O Coemgen, to us was the destiny,”
    “To bear thee from thy little hollow;”
    “Let us go forth further into the glen”
    “In which thou wilt be without limit or end.”.
  • As he went in his course through the trees,
    Dima spoke the gracious matter,
    That the litter should not be allowed to be destroyed
    Through the thick compact wood.
  • Then the trees of the oak wood bow themselves
    To the generous scion — divine was the vision —
    Through the miracles of the patron saint lay down
    The forest, and rose up again.
  •  281a
  • To Coemgen to be at his disposal came
    The noble angel, as he was wont;
    He kept the green wood prostrate
    Till he (Coemgen) found a straight road through it.
  • Hell and shortness of life
    Coemgen bequeathed to any one
    Till doom, who should burn either its fresh wood
    Or its dry wood from thenceforth.
  •  p.135
  • They lift Coemgen into the litter
    The children of Dima of the fierce onset,
    Till he reached the bottom of the glen,
    Where he performed the functions of his order.
  • The saint wrought a miracle forthwith
    On the most mad son of Dima,
    The one who opposed his full will,
    He brought his body to a cruel pass.
  • He left not his hunting for the patron saint,
    The insensate Dima son of Dima;
    Inasmuch as he did not believe on him — it was no prosperous omen —
    He became a portion for his own hounds.
  • Have ye heard of Cellach son of Dima,
    How he died unweariedly in suffering (lit. on the cross)?
    Coemgen, with his gifts of grace, sent him
    To his home alive again.
  • Though he found that the litter was destroying him,
    Not the slower was his rush in his course;
    'Twas Coemgen helped him, though he died;
    He did not give up his effort through faintness.
  • When the youth had arisen from death,
    The first word he said to every one (was):
    “The man who rescued me from every need,”
    “I will not forsake him till the judgement comes.”
  • This counsel he gave to his friends,
    His speech was pleasing to Coemgen;
    They came gently to entreat him,
    And his heart was full of their love.
  •  viii
  • “O Dima, seeing that to thee it was destined”
    “To bring me out of my little hollow,”
    “Desert me not through any other matter,”
    “For no lie was the prophecy.”
  • “Though against my will ye have brought”
    “Myself from my little hollow in the tree,”
    “Yet will I show kindness”
    “To thee and to thy offspring”.
  • “If my counsel were performed,”
    “There would be help with you moreover;”
    “My church and my coarb-ship (would be)
    “With the Leinstermen habitually.”.
  •  p.136
  • Dima said — a stranger was he
    From afar, from the regions of Meath — 281b
    “Here are we to do the will”
    “Of thee, O tonsured one of the King of Heaven.”
  • “All that we have (is thine)
    “to support thee Against the unquiet world;”
    “Here are we to entreat thee”
    “To build thy city (monastery).”.
  • Great questioning with the sons of Dima
    Held Coemgen in his hollow,
    As to going with them and with their father
    And quitting his accustomed seat.
  • Coemgen heard the questioning of the sons
    And the cause by which they might gain his love;
    Coemgen forgave to the son of Fergna
    Earnestly the wrong which they had done.
  • Lo, here is what they established,
    The descendants of Dima with Coemgen;
    He gave them all that they entreated
    Till the end of the world shall come.
  • “At a time when men were few”
    “On this side of the world,”,
    “God granted,”, said Coemgen,
    “That a stranger should come to my help.”.
  • Coemgen makes erenachs
    Of the seed of the fair kings;
    He did not forsake them, though it was lawful;
    They were the true foundation of his church.
  • “It is I, Coemgen, that will protect them,”
    “The seed of which the men came”;
    To Dima — since near their kinship —
    To his steward he gave what he asked.
    O Dima.
  •  ix
  • Coemgen used to perform a kind of devotion,
    Such as no saint before was ever wont to do;
    He would go into a pen every Lent,
    A decision from which he found profit from God.
  • He would stand on a rough bare flag-stone,
    Though the cold hurt his feet;
    The chant of angels was round about him,
    To him in his strong pen it was refection.
  •  p.137
  • A fortnight and a month without food,
    Or somewhat longer, was he, though great the effort
    Suddenly a blackbird hopped from a branch,
    And made a nest in the hand of the saint.
  • Coemgen remained in the pen
    Alone, though great was the pain,
    And the nest of the blackbird on his palm,
    Till her birds were hatched.
  • God sent an angel to say
    To Coemgen of the hard devotion,
    That he should go out of his narrow pen promptly
    To fight against the wretched world.
  •  282a“Alas 'tis a pain more than the requital,”
    “My hand like a log under the blackbird;”
    “The blood of His hands, of His side, of His feet,”
    “The King of Heaven shed for my sake.”.
  • The angel said expressly:
    “Thou shalt not be torturing thyself any longer;”
    “Depart from thy bondage without delay,”
    “Thy business is ready with God.”.
  • Coemgen said to the angel:
    “From my captivity I will not go before my time,”
    “Till I obtain for my tributaries”
    “Freedom from Jesus the Son of God.”.
  • “Thou shalt have that,” said the angel,
    “Go forth from thy bondage without making excuse;”
    “Seven times the full of thy glens on every side”
    “Shall be under thy judgement in the day of doom.”
  • This was the reward of Coemgen,
    As the Gaels shall hear in his day;
    He will receive in the day of doom without delay
    All that was promised to him.
  • Whatever matter God granted to Coemgen,
    And his angel asked for in heaven,
    He gives to him to-day without dishonour
    In perpetuity whatever he sought.
  • God gave power to Coemgen
    Such as He gave not 104 to every saint in the world,
    That he should be strong in His assemblies,
    Where the children of Adam will be trembling.
  •  p.138
  • When the judgement of doom shall come,
    Dread will be the power over every one;
    The people of the glen will not be decreed to imprisonment,
    But (will be) like mist on the tops of twigs.
  • Coemgen takes with him to paradise
    His own true family without condition;
    After the judgement of the mighty King,
    And (with) a spear of red gold in his hand.
  • This is the high banner of Coemgen,
    Each one would be the better who shall have it
    In his hand nobly at the day of judgement,
    The company would be pleasing to God.
  • Whoever has heard of the might of Coemgen,
    If during his life in the world
    He is not tributary to the patron saint,
    He never committed greater folly.
    Coemgen used.
  •  x
  • God granted to him everything he asked
    Till the end of the world comes;
    He granted heaven to the soul of every fair body
    That should be (buried) under the pure soil of Coemgen.
  • On every noble Saturday nine
    Of the souls of his tributaries 282b
    Go with fair pleadings
    Among the holy angels of Jesus.
  • Whoever is buried on Saturday
    Under the wall of the true prince,
    They will be free from hell truly
    In their death on Friday.
  • The kings of Erin chose
    And her queens customarily
    To be buried in his noble church,
    Where are triumphs till doom.
  • There are the relics of the bishops
    Under the soil till the day of the vast judgement;
    Near the pen of Coemgen of the devotion,
    Till they go with him in the assemblies.
  • To go with him in the Day of Judgement,
    This was their hearts' desire,
    And that their cause should be with Coemgen,
    For angels will be awaking him.
  •  p.139
  • The angels used to follow him
    In his life (lit. business) under the tops of the bushes;
    He was the true fount unfailing,
    'Twas afar that his miracles were heard.
  • Afar were the miracles of Coemgen heard
    Throughout Erin, east and west;
    God never did for any other saint
    Of them all more than He did for him.
  • Coemgen went to the court of Rome,
    And brought back with him the wondrous earth,
    And received openly from the pope
    (Right of) pilgrimage and excellent honour.
  • Great is the pilgrimage of Coemgen,
    If men should perform it aright;
    To go seven times to his fair is the same
    As to go once to Rome.
    God granted.
  •  xi
  • It is thy church with its hundreds,
    O pleasant, furrowed (?) Coemgen,
    That is a Rome of Latium without mire
    In the west of the hovel-like world.
  • In the four quarters of Erin
    They desired to go aright
    On their errand to Coemgen's pilgrimage,
    To take part in their fairs which he established (lit. made).
  • Coemgen brought with him the earth of Rome,
    To place it triumphantly in his cemeteries;
    And he made of his fair glen without concealment
    A church of saints on whom the hosts believe.
  • One of the four havens for cleansing souls
    The best that exist across the sea to the west,
    (Patrick and Finn prophesied it),
    Coemgen sought out for his friends.
  •  283aGlendalough would be full of angels,
    The glen of the hard troublous fight;
    A glen which God did not despise,
    A glen which is the Lord's very own.
  • High above every church is the seat of Coemgen,
    The (bond of) alliance between Leinster and Leth Cuinn;
    A place triumphant with its cemeteries, wild,
    Lofty, compact, with its harbours and woods.
  •  p.140
  • Great is the character of the church of Coemgen,
    Sad the story that Gaels should be devouring it;
    A gracious Rome, city of the angels,
    Rightly did his hand bless it.
  • There he made the beginning of his devotion,
    Before any saint ventured on it;
    And he made of the glen of the sharp-weaponed fíans
    A church in which there would be no mean fair.
  • The glory of Leinster is the fair of Coemgen,
    The triumph of the Gaels, 'tis a goodly show,
    Though any one should search through the sorrowful world,
    (He would find) every fair a sorry thing compared with it.
  • Whoever shall spend aught on my fair
    For the love of Coemgen, as is fit,
    (Long) life, and luck and ease,
    And heaven at last (shall be) his reward.
  • He left with his school of melodious monks,
    And with the clerks of his relics,
    The collection of his tribute without enslavement,
    Since God gave freedom for his sake.
  • No fight may be dared at his fair,
    Nor challenge of wrong nor of rights,
    No quarrel, nor theft, nor rapine,
    But going and coming in security.
  • To whoever should violate his fair,
    Coemgen left — no weak force —
    Hell and shortness of life,
    And never to be free from danger till doom.
  • Three glories Coemgen procured
    For the host of his lively fair,
    Heaven and (long) life, and health,
    And welcome from God, as he requested.
  • Coemgen desired to be in the desert
    To be satiated by the fair angel;
    He remained under the crags of the rocks,
    Many other quarters he explored.
  • Here are some of the doings of Coemgen,
    The God of Heaven was not displeased with them;
    And the angels (were) directing him,
    And instructing him as he explored.
  •  p.141
  • I am Solomon, pupil of Coemgen,
    I was in danger in the eastern land, 283b
    When my tutor came to my help,
    'Tis a large part of the world that he searched.
    It is.
  •  xii
  • Though many be the bequests
    Which Coemgen bequeathed in his glens,
    He himself strove to protect them
    For every one for whom he acquired (lit. bought) them.
  • There is no tradition of ancient men,
    And no learned men among them;
    Nothing is now there regarded,
    Except that their robe be fine and elegant.
  • Neither asceticism nor celebration 105
    Do the clerks perform in their churches;
    They are (all) through the evil of their mind
    Intent on destroying one another.
  • There are far more foreigners in his church
    Than native erenaghs; 106
    Their true origin has gone
    With his miracles into oblivion (lit. stifling).
  • There the triumphs and miracles
    Of Coemgen (are) unknown in their history,
    Because there no longer remain narrators
    To tell of their virtues.
  • But unless they are found written
    On paper in other lands,
    It is certain that they will be forgotten
    In the sanctuary of Coemgen of the glen.
  • The young clerics of every holy church
    Go with the relics continually,
    Not like Coemgen of the glen,
    With his relics in decay (?) till doom.
  • For he himself when alive bequeathed
    (Some) of his miracles — sacred the cause —
    His relics are stored up;
    To leave them needlessly is strange.
  •  p.142
  • Give an offering to the young clerk
    By whom the relics are being carried,
    For the love of the great saint without reproach,
    'And thou shalt receive deliverance (lit. acknowledgement) when thou art plundered.
  • Here is the vengeance belonging to the relics of Coemgen,
    Woe to him who goes to swear by them without excuse;
    They leave permanently, if there be occasion,
    Their trace furiously upon every one (who does so).
  • Woe to him who hastily incurs
    A curse from the relics of Coemgen;
    Unless there be a doomed man who prefers
    To quit the world without delay.
  • Whoever it be that shall be smitten
    By the fingers of my monks with my relics,
    Whether it be prince of Fal with power (?)
    Or ecclesiastic, or servant;
  •  284aIf it be a curse direct,
    It will split stock and stone,
    (Even) if he be for awhile in his usual form,
    He will be a weakling who shall not be comely.
  • If my church be outraged —
    Which will be a danger to kings —
    Their punishment yonder (in the next world) is certain.
    And shortness to their life (here).
    Though many.
  •  xii b
  • “Whatever wrong was done,”
    “Is being done, or shall be done,”
    “Vengeance for it falls unerringly”
    “On the might of him by whom it is done.”.
  • Coemgen made this stave
    (Not falsely did he make it)
    To leave freedom to his poor
    Against the evils of every period.
  • The Gaels left honour
    To Coemgen without (exacting) due or tribute;
    The church to which they gave freedom
    Is reduced to slavery again.
  • There will come a time at the end of the world,
    Though to me it will be a sore trespass,
    When my beloved church will be ravaged,
    And will be left under its full of treachery.
  •  p.143
  • “I will come after the ravaging,”
    “I, Coemgen, with the might of my wrath 107;”
    “Their kings shall not remain in this world,”
    “And I will take vengeance for their expedition.”
  • “Afterwards I will slay without quarter”
    “Them on the peak on high;”
    “Woe to him who incurs before going thither,”
    “Shortness of life and hell.”
  • “Every king who breaks our compact,”
    “And does not fulfil to me what he promised,”
    “Shall be dragged among devils,”
    “And his soul tortured in the next world.”
  • “Every king who dies in submission to me,”
    “I will be there myself to meet him,”
    “And I will give welcome to his soul”
    “Through the kindness wherewith he protects the church.”
  •  xiii
  • Coemgen chose four diseases,
    Not for his friend did he do it,
    (But) to bind the ravagers of his church,
    To destroy them all by his will.
  • Ulcer, and scrofula,
    White anthrax with great destruction,
    Madness which brings ruin to hosts,
    Through the virtues of (his) relics and bells.
  • These are the cruel diseases
    For which they find no surgery (lit. cutting) here; 284b
    The man whom they (these diseases) wound,
    No leech or herb can help.
  • A spark which burns stock and stone,
    And checks the noise of every fierce stream
    (Is) the wrath of Coemgen on every servant
    Who shall ravage his high church.
  • He will place the sign of the church
    On the gentiles of Glen Giadail;
    Their faces turned backwards behind them,
    He will not conceal them from the desires of the devil.
  •  p.144
  • Strong moreover is the might
    Which God the Father conferred on Coemgen,
    To drive awandering the wretches
    Who treat not his holy church as sanctuary. 108
  • The Gaels shall not hastily desert
    The honour of Coemgen without exacting it;
    (If they do), he will leave them feeble,
    (And) sorrowful above every Gael.
  • Woe to the Gael who admits into his camp
    The plunder of Coemgen of the hard asceticism;
    He tramples on his prosperity and fortune,
    All his good goes from him (and is turned) into misfortune.
  • He (i. e. Coemgen) gives short life to their body,
    And their soul to the black devil;
    Diseases for which there is no healing
    In the presence of the multitude he inflicts.
    Coemgen chose.
  •  xiv
  • His tutor was angry with Coemgen —
    For long the matter was not forgotten —
    Because he did not bring fire with nimble diligence
    To him for the saying of Mass.
  • A vessel in which he might bring it to him
    He asked of his tutor, and did not obtain it:
    “If thou findest no other place,”
    “Bring the fire with thee in thy bosom.”
  • In accord with his tutor's bidding
    Did Coemgen through love, and he brought
    To him, since he flinched not from the embers, 109
    As much of them as he could carry in his bosom.
  • He who put heat into the fire,
    (Conceal it now from none,)
    The angel came to help him,
    And protected the thread (of his garment) from burning.
  • “To thee He listened, and not to me,”
    “It is thou who art dearer to God;”
    “Thou art full of the Holy Spirit,”
    “I will not be beside thee (any longer).”
  •  p.145
  •  285a“It is clear that there is, as I hoped,”
    “Love of thee in perpetuity with God;”
    “Since the course of our sacred converse is not the same,”
    “We will not be in the same place any longer.”
  • Excellent of guidance to Coemgen
    That an angel of God was his guide
    Both by day and by night,
    To bring him to the royal mansion in which he shall be.
  • This was the beginning of his career,
    To Coemgen without error or deceit;
    God sent the angel to help him,
    And he protected him from wrong and wrath.
    His tutor.
  •  xv
  • One day when he himself was going,
    Coemgen, with his sheep onto the hill,
    There came to him a troop of poor men,
    Starving for want of food.
  • As soon as ever they came to him,
    They asked alms for the love of God;
    Coemgen answered regretfully
    That there in the wilderness he had no food.
  • They set out to go at once
    Without delaying at his request,
    He stopped them for refection — divine was the means —
    And gave them food abundantly.
  • He gave the seven wethers to the poor,
    Coemgen, without any defect in the tale of them;
    Not diminished was the herd when numbered,
    And God saved him Himself from shame.
  •  xvi
  • To the monks each single day
    A little otter — great its kindness —
    In Cell Iffin without early delay (?)
    Brought a salmon during the whole of Lent.
  • When Cellach sees the otter
    Bringing a salmon for the community,
    He thought that it would be good for the church
    To make a glove of its skin.
  • It brought dispersal on the saints
    The thing which Cellach had consented to;
    Thenceforth the otter made off
    And brought no salmon to the monk.
  •  p.146
  • Cellach confessed his sins
    To the nobly wise elders;
    Afterwards, though hard the judgement,
    Coemgen sent Cellach away.
  •  xvii
  • Coemgen made a prosperous device
    For his monks because of their goodness,
    To free himself from shame,
    And from the complaint of the mercenaries.
  •  285b
  • The seed that was sown in the morning
    In Cell Iffin — divine was the grace —
    From it without withering at night
    Were fed the elders in turn.
  • More than foolish the musicians
    Who would not stop with Coemgen at his request;
    When they did not find food prepared,
    They refused to remain as he arranged.
  • Coemgen made stones
    Of their sweet-voiced wooden instruments,
    And brought sorrow on the men who played them,
    Who did despite to him which gained nought.
  • Foolish was it of the musicians
    Who did not remain steadfastly to be satisfied;
    Their wooden instruments are — not as an offering —
    Turned into a little stone-heap under the feet of all.
  • He did not give them a decree of refusal,
    But they went away of their own free will;
    Well did this protect Coemgen from shame,
    And a theme of laughter he made.
    Coemgen made.
  •  xviii
  • To Coemgen for baptism was sent
    By the good king of Ui Faelain his son,
    And to be with him as his foster-child,
    To him he desired that he should go.
  • There were neither cows nor boolies
    With the people who were in the glen,
    From which they might get milk for the foster-child,
    There was scarceness of milk there.
  • Coemgen saw a doe
    And a little fawn following her;
    He prayed to God for half her milk
    To nourish his fosterling.
  •  p.147
  • The doe came to the place
    To the monk — an unaccustomed thing —
    To the gentle fawn and to his foster-child it gave
    Their fill of milk exactly.
  • It would drop its milk completely
    Into a hollow stone till it was full;
    This is the name of the place distinctly,
    'The Doe's Milking-stead,' from that time forth.
  • One day when it came from the crag,
    Though long (the distance) it came in a short time,
    A wretch of a ravening wolf killed
    The one fawn of the doe, and ate it.
  • A miracle was wrought by Coemgen
    On the wolf, though hideous its appearance,
    He put under the doe actually
    The wolf in place of the fawn.
  • The doe would remain motionless
    With the holy monk beside her,
    And the wolf before her,
    As if she were giving suck to her fawn.
  •  286aCaineog, a fairy witch,
    Followed the king's son thither;
    She and her company of women, (turned) into stone,
    Are there above the lough of the churches.
  • The fairy folk carried off the children
    Of the king, though strong the tower;
    (But) this child to be baptized to Coemgen
    Through fear of the fairies he sent.
  •  xix
  • The heads of two women upon their trunks
    Coemgen did plainly set,
    He brought them back safe from death to life,
    Though the field was full of their blood.
  • “O Coemgen, who earnest so promptly”
    “To bring us back safe from a violent death, 110
    “We will be at thy will while we remain,”
    “And will not part from thee all our lifetime.”
  • Coemgen brought home alive
    The women whose heads had been cut off,
    And made of them black nuns
    Devout and proper in his church.
  •  p.148
  • Thus he remedied the murder
    Which enemies did in his church;
    After all the evils which they (the women) received,
    He welded their heads to their bodies.
    The heads.
  •  xx
  • Coemgen the fitting, the mindful, saw
    A poor clerk, though evil was his appearance,
    Come running across the crags,
    His voice was trembling on his lips (lit. head).
  • Coemgen recognized the voice of a sinner,
    Though he had never seen him before,
    He perceived clearly by his snarl
    That he had killed his companion on the hill.
  • “O clerk who didst not shrink from (lit. refuse) murder,”
    “'Tis no wonder though ill be thy look;”
    “Guide me to the cliff”
    “On which thou didst leave thy companion dead.”
  • Had Coemgen not come at that time,
    Wolves would have eaten his body;
    As his soul came (again) into the dead man,
    'Tis clear that he (Coemgen) made good his injury.
  • Coemgen found his profit in this matter;
    He helped him against the wolves though fierce,
    He took them 111 to his house — it was a prosperous omen —
    And made of them monks in (his) order.
  • The first time that Coemgen came across the mountain
    And remained in solitude under thatch,
    There was store of contests on the skerry,
    Many a wonder he saw there.
    He saw.
  •  xxi112
  • Fruits that are healing to men
    Coemgen left for them,
    To whomsoever they shall come,
    It will not be long before he gets help.
  •  p.153
  • Blackberries in winter,
    Apples of a sallow branch.
    And shoots from the rock
    Which heal sicknesses without delay.
  •  p.149
  • They remain — and great is the marvel 113
    Often has it been proved,
    Blackberries from a root
    Which grows on rough rocks.
  •  286b
  • They are not found at this time
    In other parts of the world,
    (Nor) shoots growing on stones,
    But (only) on the brink of Coemgen's lough.
  • God gave openly to Coemgen
    That they should grow on rocks in the winter
    Methinks 'tis a cause of joy,
    The fruits that are healing to men.
  •  xxii
  • Great was the speed of the wild boar
    With the hounds yelping at him all day long;
    When the hour of its danger came,
    It took refuge with Coemgen.
  • Coemgen easily wrought
    At once upon the dogs
    The binding of their feet to the ground,
    That they should follow was not likely.
  • When the hunters came
    To the glens to seek their hounds,
    They wondered, and without wounding them to death,
    By what contrivance he had bound them.
  • They marvelled much at the miracle,
    And all men marvelled much,
    That a wild boar in peril
    Should take refuge with Coemgen.
  • “Release our hounds, O Coemgen;”
    “After we have given satisfaction for it,”
    “Here for thyself without oppression”
    “Is the boar; great was the speed.”
  • . . . (Something wanting.)

  • Great.
  • “O monk yonder, what is the reason”
    “That thou art so hard upon us?”
    “They are not cheeses but webs (of cloth)”
    “That we carry on our back.”
  •  p.150
  • The cheeses were concealed by the women
    From the saint, though foolish the proceeding;
    And Coemgen made of the white curds
    Stones as a reproach to the women.
  • Coemgen was pleased to see this,
    To deceive him was no good matter;
    The cheeses turned to stones
    Are on the hillock for all to see.
  • To the work people Cellach meeted out
    Their hire in pure silver;
    Coemgen was displeased with their answer,
    And punished the contention of the women.
    O monk
  •  xxiv



    10. Here is the Life of Coemgen of Glendalough, as written by a monk named Solomon who was his own disciple, and written here leisurely by me, Hugh O Daly, the 21st day of January 1725 A.D. in the town of Dublin.

    In this Life


    There was a patron saint, noble, distinguished, steadfast, devout, well disposed, pure, abstinent, prayerful, radiant, blessed, whose name was Coemgen. He came of the noble and distinguished royal blood of the Dal Meisenchorb, son of Cucorb, son of Mug Corb, son of Conchubar Abrat-ruad (Red-brow), son of Finnfile, son of Rus Ruad (the Red), son of Fergus Fairrge (of the Sea), son of Nuada Necht, son of Setna Sithbac (of the long elbows), son of Lugaid Lethfinn (White-side), son of Bresal Brec (the Speckled), &c.


    And it is this Coemgen who is the patron saint of 116 Glendalough in Leinster, in the sorrel-plain of Coemgen. And it was (one sign) of the sanctity of Coemgen that his mother at the time of his birth did not notice any heartburn or pain or sickness from it. After his birth women were sent with him to visit St. Cronan for his baptism, and after the women had set out with the child to go to Cronan, an angel revealed himself to them, and bade them notify Cronan that he was to be named Coemgen. And when he came 117 a into the presence of Cronan, he took the child in his arms and baptized him, and gave him the name of Coemgen, in accordance with the angel's command, and explained to the women that this was an appropriate name for him by the will and ordinance of God, as Solomon the Monk says, who was Coemgen's disciple, by whom this life was written:


    1. This is the name which God fashioned in heaven,
      Which shall cleave to the child;
      Consider, O women of fair attendance,
      That this is his baptismal name, Coemgen.
    And the same author says that twelve angels who came from heaven revealed themselves to Cronan as he was baptizing Coemgen,  p.152 with a bright taper in the hand of each angel; as says the same Solomon:


    1. 'Twelve angels, as was fitting,
      God sent from on high in his honour;
      And a taper with pure flame
      Was in the hand of each angel.


    Now after the baptism the women take Coemgen with them to the fort in which he was born, and the fort is called Raith an Tobair ghil (the Fort of the white fountain), and there he was nurtured for seven years. Moreover, it is to be reckoned as a marvel, that while he was at his mother's breasts, he would only suck them once on Fridays and other fast-days, and that at evening. It is also marvellous, that on the fort in which he was born no snow would lie, but would melt at once.


    After he had spent seven years, he was sent to a convent of monks to be taught, and instructed in manners, and he spent a considerable period of time among them, until he was of age to be a priest; and after receiving ecclesiastical orders, he meditated  148 in his mind to forsake the world and the society of men, and to lead a solitary eremitic life on the desert ocean, or on some very retired cliff, so that the world might have no share in any of his motions.


    As he was setting out, an angel came to aid him, by whom he was guided to the crags which are on the western side of the two loughs which are in Glendalough; where he had no food but the nuts of the wood, and the herbs of the earth, and fair water for drink, and for bed, only a pillow of stone under his head, and a flag-stone under him, and a flag-stone at each side of him, and there was not even a booth 118 over him; and further, his clothes were the skins of wild animals; and he would often go to the crag and to the cave called Coemgen's bed, and he would pray long and fervently to God.


    And he would return thence by the wood called Gael Faithe to the north of the lough; and he would be a long time in the lough up to his waist reciting his hours, sometimes by day, sometimes by night; and he spent seven years in this manner in solitude (far) from the society of men, as Solomon says 119:


    1. Seven years in tangled deserts
      Was he in gentle sort
      Dwelling beside his people
      Without food in Gael Faithe.


    After he had been a long time on this wise, it happened that he went, as he was wont, into the lough, at the end of a snowy  p.153 night, and as he was reciting his psalms the psalter  149 fell into the lough, and sank some distance in it; and the angel came to help him. Thereupon an otter came bringing him his book in its mouth. And the angel told him to return to the society of men, and not to conceal himself from them any longer; and he returned from the barren wilderness, where he had previously been wont to dwell, with drawing and hiding himself on crags of rock and in hollows for 120 a long time on this wise.


    It happened about this time that a hundred-cow farmer 121 in Leinster near the glen in which Coemgen was, came from Meath on a grazing tour; and the name of the farmer was Dima son of Fergna. And as Patrick prophesied long before the birth of Coemgen that a saint like to himself should come who would be the patron of 122 Glendalough, so God granted that it should be this Dima who discovered him, after he had been concealing himself from men, as we said above.


    And this is the way in which he was discovered. A herd of Dima's cows was grazing in the wood in which Coemgen was concealing himself; and one of the cows found her way to the hollow in which the saint was being comforted by the angel, and the cow kept licking his feet all the day, and at evening when she returned home with the rest of the cows, as much milk was milked from her as was got from half the herd. And as often as the herd went into that wood, the same cow would go and lick Coemgen's feet, and after coming home in the evening, would yield a like quantity of milk.


    When Dima and all his company remarked this, great wonder and astonishment possessed him and all the rest 123; and he told the herdsman to observe the cow on the morrow, and  150 follow her closely, so that he might know in what part of the wood was the excellent pasture which caused the cow to yield such abundant milk.


    As to the herdsman, he drove the cows on the morrow to the wood where Coemgen was, and followed the cow straight till the cow reached the hollow where St. Coemgen was, with the herds man immediately behind. And when he came into Coemgen's presence, he found him weak and feeble, without power to walk or move, his bodily force being crushed 124 through the extent of his asceticism and of the mortification 125 of his body by fasting and prayer, and lying on bare flag-stones with no booth or shelter over him.


    And when he saw the herdsman, he started, and begged him as a special boon not to reveal to any one in the world that he was in that hollow. I cannot do that, said the herdsman, since thou hast been discovered by me, and this cow of Dima's has been  p.154 going backwards and forwards to visit thee every day, and (seeing) that it was enjoined on me to follow the cow 126, that I might find out whence came the abundant milk which she yields; as Solomon says in the stave overleaf:  151

    1. “After the cow of Dima”, said the herdsman,
      “(Has been) going backwards and forwards to thee in the glen,”
      “To conceal thee is not in my power,”
      “Now that thou hast been seen clearly by me.”


    After the herdsman had returned to the presence of Dima, he tried to conceal the saint; and Dima was angry at that, and ordered the herdsman to be bound in hard bondage, till he told him how he discovered Coemgen in the hollow of a tree. And when Dima heard this, great joy possessed him, and he told his children to make a litter, and (said) that they would go to meet the saint, and that they would believe on him;


    and that this was he of whom Finn had prophesied long before, that he would be the patron of 127 that place. So the litter was got ready by them, and they set out, Dima and his children, and went through the wood carrying the litter; and the herdsman guided them to the hollow where the saint was. And inasmuch as the road was rough and thick, 128 Dima begged Coemgen to pray to God to make level a passage through the wood; and Coemgen prayed earnestly (lit. became sharp in his prayer) to God begging that He would make level a passage before them, that the children of Dima might be able to carry him to the glen, where he was minded to build a church and a place of residence for himself. And the wood bent on either side, so that an easy practicable pass was made through it; and thereupon Dima and his children carried Coemgen with them in the litter.  152 And in this way the angel bent the wood in front of the litter, and the wood rose again in its natural fashion behind the saint, and so they came to the bed of the glen where the church of Coemgen stands to-day.


    Two miracles befell two of Dima's children at this time. One of them, called Dima the younger, refused to carry the litter, for he said he would not leave his hunting to carry Coemgen's litter; and he had not gone far, after bidding farewell to his father and brothers, when the hounds that were with him were seized with madness, 129 leaped upon him, killed him, and devoured him. The other miracle was as follows: Another son of Dima, named Cellach, went under the litter, and believed Coemgen; and after he had started to go through the wood bearing the litter, he fell under it, and his soul suddenly departed from him. Dima and his children were startled at this, and  p.155 great sadness seized them.


    When, however, Coemgen saw that, he prayed earnestly to God, entreating Him to restore Cellach to life; and he was heard by God, and Cellach was brought from death to life. And Cellach gave himself to Coemgen through this miracle, and he begged his father and brothers to give in the same way service and honour to Coemgen while they lived; and they undertook to do so. “Glory to God,” said Coemgen, “for that He has sent you, who are strangers from Meath, to attend and minister to me, and I give my blessing to thee and to thy children, O Dima,” said he.


     153Coemgen was accustomed all his life through the severity of his asceticism to spend every Lent in a wattled pen, 130 and a grey flag-stone under him as a bed, and his only food was the music of the angels; and he would spend a fortnight and a month thus. And one Lent when he was acting in this way, a blackbird came from the wood to his pen, and hopped on his palm as he lay on the flag-stone with his hand stretched out; and he kept his hand in that position, so that the blackbird built its nest in it, and hatched its brood.


    The angel came after this to visit Coemgen, and bade him leave the penance in which he was, and return to the society of men once more. Coemgen said that the pain of his hand being under the blackbird till she hatched her clutch was little compared with the pain which his Lord suffered for his sake; as Solomon says in this stave telling of the words of Coemgen:


    1. Alas! a pain greater than the requital
      My hand like a log under the blackbird;
      The blood of His hands, of His side, of His feet
      The King of heaven shed for my sake.


    However the angel bade Coemgen go out of the pen, and revealed to him that God had promised to him that he should run no risk of danger of the judgement or 131 doom; and with reference to this Solomon speaks the following stave:


    1. God gave power to Coemgen
      Such as he gave not to every saint in the world,
      In the doom to be strong in the assemblies
      Where the children of Adam will be trembling.


     154 Coemgen went on 132 pilgrimage to Rome. He received consideration and honour from the Pope, and he also received authority for the establishment of a pilgrimage in Glendalough in perpetuity, and that the indulgence and profit should be the same to any one who should make seven pilgrimages to Glendalough as to one who should  p.156 make one pilgrimage to Rome. And with reference to this Solomon speaks the following stave:


    1. Great is the pilgrimage of Coemgen,
      If men should perform it aright;
      To go seven times to their fair is the same
      As to go once to Rome.


    Now when Coemgen came back from Rome, he brought some of the earth of the church of Rome with him, and sprinkled it in his own church and in his cemeteries; for it pertained to the holiness of Coemgen after [conferring (rights of) pilgrimage on Glendalough,] that a great number of pilgrims should be visiting his church out of every quarter of Erin; so that this is one of the four chief pilgrimages of Erin henceforth; to wit, the Cave of Patrick in Ulster, Croagh Patrick in Connaught, Inis na m-Beo (the Isle of the Living) in Munster, and Glendalough in Leinster, where is Coemgen's church.


    And it is obligatory on every one who goes on pilgrimage there to abstain from all fighting, process of law, and quarrelling, theft and rapine therein. As Solomon says in this stave:


    1. No fight may be dared in his fair,
      Nor process of law, or claim,
      Nor quarrelling, theft nor rapine;
      But going and coming in security.
    Whoever shall violate the numerous privileges of his church, lo, here below according to Solomon are the evils which shall befall him in the other world:  155
    1. To whoever should violate the fair,
      Coemgen left no weak force
      Hell and shortness of life,
      And to be in danger all his days.


    He left further three advantages to the man who should maintain the privileges of his church, viz. health, (long) life, and a penitent death. And not alone through outraging the rights of his church [would the aforesaid ills befall] but through outraging the rights of God and of the Church; and not only the actual perpetrator of the misdeed would incur requital therefor, but the chief or lord who incites the criminal to commit the crime, or who gives him pro tection or shelter; as Coemgen himself says in this stave:


    1. Whatever wrong was done,
      Is being done, or shall be done,
      Vengeance for it falls unerringly
      On the might of him by whom it is done.


    Coemgen left four evil consequences on the horde that ravages  p.157 his church, to wit, tumour, scrofula, anthrax, and madness, without any remedy for them from herb or leech, &c.


    One day when Coemgen's tutor was about to say Mass, he told Coemgen (who was then a young lad) to go and fetch fire to light the Mass-candle. Give me a vessel in which to bring the embers, said Coemgen. When his tutor heard this he became angry, and told him to bring the fire in the corner of his mantle. [Coemgen did so, and] when the monk saw the red embers (being brought) to him in the mantle, without a single thread of the mantle catching fire:  156 “Tis true, O Coemgen,” said the monk, “the grace of the Holy Spirit abides upon thee; and I am not worthy that thou should st be waiting and attending on me any longer; but it would be more fitting for me to be waiting and attending on thee.” It resulted from this miracle that the name of God and of Coemgen was magnified on that occasion, &c.


    One day as Coemgen went to herd his own sheep, a great throng of poor people met him, and they in a fair way to be starved for want of food. They asked alms of the good man for love of God. Coemgen answered them regretfully, and said that he had at that time no food with him there in the desert; and thereupon the beggars desired to bid him farewell; however, Coemgen retained them,  133 and killed seven wethers from his flock, and 134 regaled the beggars, and they departed fully satisfied. On the morrow, when Coemgen went to visit his flock, he found the wethers in full tale among the herd, without a single one of them missing, so that the name of God, &c., and he was freed from the shame which possessed him, when the poor of God came to ask a boon of him, and he had nothing in his hand at the time wherewith to content them, &c.


    There was a convent of monks in Cell Iffin (or Eithfin); and an otter (the one by whom Coemgen's psalter was fished up from the lough) used to bring a salmon every day to the convent there. One day when  157 Cellach son of Dima saw the otter coming with the salmon in its mouth, he judged that the skin of the otter would be profitable to the monks, and therefore he desired to kill the otter. Thereupon the otter dropped the salmon that was in its mouth, and dived into the river, and never showed itself to the monks thenceforth.


    Now in consequence of this there came scarcity of food upon the monks, so that it was necessary for them to separate. And when Coemgen saw this, he prayed earnestly to God to reveal to him whence it came that the otter had forsaken the convent. And God  p.158 willed it so that Cellach went regretfully and penitently to Coemgen, and confessed that he had had the intention of killing the otter, and that it was at that time that the otter had dived into the river, and forsaken the monks thenceforth. After Coemgen heard this he dismissed Cellach. Understand, reader, that it was through the force of Coemgen's prayers that God obliged Cellach to reveal to Coemgen 135 the evil intention which he had had as to killing the otter.


    One day some musicians with their harps came to Cell Eithfin, where Coemgen had  158 a convent of monks, and asked an alms of food of the monks. The convent had no food (at the time), and great shame possessed Coemgen and the convent on that account.


    But it so happened that a little seed (corn) remained over of the convent's provisions, but it was not a sufficiency either for the strangers or for the convent. This is what seemed good to Coemgen with the help of the convent to free them from the voice of this reproach, to send some of the monks to dig a plot of ground in which this small quantity of seed which they had might be sown, so that the produce of this seed might serve as refection in the evening for the strangers and Coemgen himself, [and for all the monks. And Coemgen] and the rest of the monks were persistently soothing (?) the musicians, trying to pacify them affably and courteously, but to no purpose.


    The players began to demand food forcibly, and there was none there. Therefore they took their leave against Coemgen's wish, and reproached [and reviled] the convent. And Coemgen being angry at the shame (put on him), prayed [God] that the harps which they had, might be turned into stones.  159 Thereupon as they were beginning to cross the stream which flows to the south of the church, their harps were made into stones, and fell into the stream, and they are on the little stone-heap there under the feet of all (who pass) thenceforth. And as to the seed that was sown by Coemgen the morning of the same day in Cell Eithfin, it was from the produce which came thereof at evening, that the monks were fed that same night, as Solomon says in this stave:


    1. The seed that was sown in the morning
      At Cell Eithfin, divine was the grace,
      From it without withering at night
      Were fed the elders in turn.


    It occurred to the king of Ui Faelain to send a son who had been born to him to Coemgen to be baptized; and he sent word to him to keep the boy with him to be fostered. And the reason why he sent him to him was because every son that had been previously born to him had been destroyed by the bright people or fairy courts.  p.159 And when the infant came to Coemgen to be baptized, a fairy witch, named Caineog, with her attendant women followed the infant, bent on destroying it, as they had destroyed every other son which the king of Úi Faelain had had previously. When Coemgen noticed this, he cursed the women, and thereupon they were turned into stones, and they remain thenceforth in the form of stones on the brink of the lough which is in the glen.


    As to Coemgen and the infant: — there were neither cows nor boolies in the glen at that time, so that it was a great problem with Coemgen how he should find sustenance and milk to nourish the infant withal; and this caused him anxiety. However, as he looked behind him, he saw a doe in milk, and a little fawn following her; and when Coemgen saw this he prayed God earnestly to tame the doe, so that it might come and yield its milk to the infant. And thereupon the doe came to the place, and went gently to Coemgen and forthwith dropped milk onto a hollow stone both for the infant and for her own fawn. So that this is the definite name of the place where the stone is, Innis Eilte (i.e. the doe's milking stead) thence forward. In this way the doe came every day to drop her milk on the hollow stone, so that sufficient for the infant's nourishment was obtained every day.


    However, one day when the doe came to graze in the wood, a wolf came out of a hollow of the rock and killed the doe's fawn and devoured it. When he (Coemgen) saw this, he ordered the wolf to go gently to the doe in place of the fawn;  161 and the wolf did this habitually. Thereupon the doe would drop her milk on the stone to feed the infant as she formerly did for her fawn, though there was only a wolf standing at her breast. Thus were they habitually, and in this way the child was nurtured, and afterwards became a disciple of Coemgen. So the name of God, &c.


    One day when two women were coming on a pilgrimage to Coemgen's church, robbers met them at the pass, stripped them, and beheaded them. When the news came to Coemgen, he went quickly to see the women, and put their heads on their trunks, so that they were restored to life by him. “O Coemgen,” said the women, “thou hast healed us, and we give ourselves to thee as long as we shall live.” Coemgen took the women with him, and made devout black nuns of them; and they remained in the convent of regular women which was near the church of Coemgen; and they spent their lives devoutly, exemplarily, abstinently, prayerfully all their days. So that it came of the bringing to life again of these women that the name, &c.


    One day when Coemgen the ascetic was near his church,  p.160 he saw coming towards him on the hill a poor wretched-looking 136 clerk, with his limbs all shaking from the horror of a terrible crime committed by him. And when Coemgen saw this, he said that it was no wonder for him to have a bad look from the murder which he had committed in killing his fellow clerk as they walked on the hill: “And, O most wretched one,” said Coemgen, “lead me to the place where thou didst leave the dead body of thy companion.”


    Upon this the clerk began to retrace his steps, and Coemgen with him, till they reached the body. At this very moment wolves were on the other side preparing to devour the body, and when they saw Coemgen they fled back, and Coemgen came (and stood) over the body, and prayed God earnestly to revive the dead man; whereupon the soul came into the body, and he was healed of the injury. When the clerk who had committed the murder saw this great miracle, he was seized with remorse for the crime which he had committed, and he commended himself  163 to Coemgen, and went under his protection.


    Coemgen accepted him, and took him and the clerk whom he had restored to life with him to his own church, (where they remained) leading their lives rigorously and devoutly. And after a certain time Coemgen admitted them to the order of monks, so that they spent the rest of their days under (monastic) rule till their death, so that the name of God, &c.


    It is a further miracle of Coemgen's that garlic, and meadow-sorrel, and many other herbs which are good for food, would remain fresh and green all the year round in the desert where he was, withdrawing himself from the society of men on the west side of the rock in Glendalough, as a remembrance that he had had to rely on them himself for sustenance.


    One day some hunters were hunting a wild boar, and when the hunters had put up the wild boar, they loosed their dogs in pursuit of it. And as soon as the boar perceived the dogs near him, he set off down ths slope of the glen to (seek) the protection of Coemgen, with the dogs in pursuit. Coemgen undertook  164 the protection of the boar, and commanded the dogs to stop from (following) him; whereupon the feet of the dogs clave to the ground, so that they could not move from the spot in any direction.


    Shortly after this the hunters came into Coemgen's presence, and on seeing their dogs fastened to the ground, and the boar under Coemgen's protection, astonishment of mind and marvellous great wonder possessed them at this miracle, and they humbly and penitently besought Coemgen to release their dogs, and promised him that they would never again  p.161 pursue this boar till doom. Thereupon Coemgen dismissed the boar into the wood. And the name of God, &c.


    One day Coemgen sent Cellach son of Dima (who was a monk of his) to the pass at the north-west side of the glen, thinking that he might find some people bringing an alms of food to the monks, who were working in the church.


    When he reached the pass some women met him, carrying soft or milk cheeses in the corners of their mantles.  165 The clerk asked if it was soft cheeses that they were carrying? They answered that it was not, but webs or balls of thread. Thereupon Coemgen appeared, and when he perceived that the women were concealing the cheeses, he entreated God that the cheeses might be turned into stones in the presence of all, and God caused the cheeses to be turned forthwith into stones for all to see; and they are to be seen to this day at the aforesaid pass. And it resulted from this deed that the name of God, &c.


    And Coemgen was all his life long like this, working miracles, till he died at an advanced age after a hundred and twenty- nine years; and Suibne Menn son of Fiachna, son of Feradach, son of Muiredach, son of Eogan, son of Niall of the nine hostages, was king of Erin at the time, and it was at the beginning of Suibne's reign that Coemgen died.


    Coemgen, son of Coemlug, son of Coemfid, son of Corb, son of Fergus Laegderg (Red-calf), son of Fothad, son of Eochaid Lamderg (Red-hand), son of Mesincorb, son of Cucorb,  166 son of Mogh Corb, son of Concobar Abratruad (Red-brow), son of Finnfile, son of Rus Ruad (the Red), son of Fergus Finn (the White), son of Nuadu Necht, son of Setna Sithbac (Long-elbow), son of Lugaid Lethfinn (White side), son of Bresal Brec (the Speckled), &c.


    The Life of Colman Ela here.

    In this Life


    Now Colman Ela was of the race of Eremon the son of Miled of Spain, as his genealogy declares. And these were the constant followers of Colman Ela; in the first place Cuiniugán; it is to his race that the Muinter Cuiniugáin (Family of C.) belong to-day. They are of the race of Brian son of Eochaid Muigmedon.


    As to Colman Ela when he came to Fir Cell, they did not welcome him, and no one was more hostile to him than Cuiniugán. And a trouble had arisen (or befallen) in the land at this time; to wit, there was a pestilent monster in Lough Ela, and (lit. for) no man or beast would venture to go near the lake for fear of it. And this was the nature (lit. description) of the monster a small pointed gaping apparition in the shape of a woman. And Cuiniugan said to them then: It would be better for us to set yon holy man called Colman Ela to fight the monster, and it would be better (still) in our opinion that neither of them should return.


    Now the king of Fir Cell at that time was Donnchad son of Aed, son of Sathmainide, of the race of Fiacha son of Niall of the nine hostages. “Bring Colman to us,” said the king, “that he may preach to us, so that we may know how many among us he can convert.”


    Colman was brought to them, and he preached to them. And he sent a message to his assisting friends, and these were his friends, namely Columcille, the fair son of Feidlimid. and they were related to one another; for Mor the daughter of Feidlimid son of Fergus Cendfada (Long head), son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the nine hostages, was Colman's mother. Mancan of Liath also came to him with his saints, for they (he and Colman) were nearly related. And they met together, and Columcille said that he would act as Colman's crozier-deacon (i.e. carry his pastoral staff) that day. And Mancan said that he would sprinkle (holy) water on the hosts, to bring them into friendliness with Colman.


    And these clerks began their preaching, and they had fair Latin books with them, and they  219b recited their reading clearly, and praised the Creator fervently. And it was recreation of mind and heart to the hosts to listen to them. And those who had never thought of God before, turned their thoughts to Him now. And one of the first to offer himself to God and Colman that day was Cuiniugán.


    The above-mentioned king had three sons, namely Muad, Duinecha, and Aillean; and Muad was the eldest son. And he said that he himself loved Colman, and that with his father's permission  p.163 he would like to give him a place of habitation and abode. “I declare,” said Duinecha, “that I feel just like that myself, and that in whatever direction of the four quarters of the world he shall go, I will follow him, and that I offer my seed to him after me.” “Do not so,” said the king, “for if he kills the monster, I myself will give him the place in which it (the monster) is, and I will give my seed after me, and (any of) my assistants that he prefers to have given to him, shall be given to him.”


    And when Colman heard this, he set out towards the monster to the lake. And the name of the monster was Lainn, and this was the nature of it — a small pointed gaping apparition, and short bushy hair, unwashed and unkempt, all over its head. And the monster came to land. And Colman said: If God permit, I would permit the reeds of the lake to bind thee for me, that I may slay thee. And as Colman said this, he looked up, and the Righteous One answered him, and all that he asked of Him he obtained.


    And Cuiniugán was with him at that time, and also Duinecha, and they had both believed in him. And the following saints were also with him there, namely Blaan, Bishop Findcen, and Bishop Coirill; and the seven sons of Deiccell, and Bishop Eogan, and Odran, and Forgan, and Mernag, and Fachtna.


    Then said Colman Ela: “Let some saint of you attack the monster, and cut off its head.” “I will go,” said Cuineda, “and behead it for the love of thee.” “I will go to repell it,” said Duinecha, “and I desire not to receive from thee the royal honour 137 due to my place, for it was by thee I wished my burial to be. And since my father has no other sons but myself and two others, I looked forward to receiving the chieftainship. Yet, all the same, it is with thee I would wish my body to be.”


    And these two, Cuineda and Duinecha, went and beheaded the monster. And they brought the head to Colman. And Colman blessed them both. And Colman said then to Cuineda: “Thou and thy seed shall be with me till doom as stewards; and myrelics shall be with you, and I will bequeath evil to them that encroach upon you.” “I will be thy servant,” said Duinecha, “till thy habitation and labour be all ready”; and he (Colman) said this lay:


    1. Stronger is the church than any king,
      I tell it to you without disparagement;
      A proverb is this (which holds) good till doom,
      I think it well for all to hear it.
    2. Do ye see it yourselves,
      O beauteous saints of Erin?
      The one that opposed me so strongly
      The monster, ye see that it is headless.
    3.  p.164
    4. It was a reproach, 138 I say (it) to you,
      noble clerks of the world,
      It were better for you to be at the meeting
      On the day of deceit with its outcry.
    5. When thou recitest thy (canonical) hours,
      And (when) thou shalt be in the womb of thy mother, 139
      Recite them thyself leisurely to the congregation,
      If thou wilt gain the profit of them.
    6. Every verse of them that thou recitest,
      Expound their texts minutely;
      Speak in thine own character exactly,
      And fix on them thine understanding;
      Then shalt thou receive (thy request) from the King of the stars,
      Whose protection is never-ending.
    7. The verse which the mighty recite,
      Thou deem'st it long till it proceed from thee,
      The man of deceit who is in the congregation,
      No better for thee is his recitation.
    8.  220b
    9. Recite thyself softly, sweetly, pleasantly,
      Thy prayers and thy reading;
      Expound their Latin truly,
      And turn thy Pater (noster) into Gaelic.
    10. Visit early, as is right,
      (And) approach the altar frequently;
      Give great love to their renown,
      Preach among the laymen.


    1. I tell to thee without regret
      From myself with reference to the church a noble story;
      We will not tell you a matter without order,
      But a story which goes to the root of things.
    2. The three things that are strongest under the sun,
      I tell them to you in order,
      The church, and the hot fire,
      And the third thing is water.
    3. The fire which thou lightest thyself,
      Though it be weak as it comes forth into the sun,
      It is seen a long way off,
      And its smoke is plainly visible.
    4.  p.165
    5. The true fountain which ebbs there,
      When the drought comes, it is weak;
      But, when the open flood fills it,
      It is strong through the multitude of waters.
    6. The Church, when she is there,
      And a feeble king oppresses her;
      Sad I deem it to be outside,
      Weak will be the voice of the clerks.
    7. However, when they fail,
      The feeble chiefs of Athleague,
      Good in God's sight will be the noisy(?) offspring,
      Which that day will be weak.
    8. Not in the sight of man will it be good,
      When it comes to the eternal pleasure,
      But openly in the sight of the one God
      Some one of us will be over them in strength.


    1. When thy soul goes out of thy body of clay,
      Though thou wast eager towards the church,
      Though the call, O man, shall come roughly,
      Thou art glad to receive it.
    2. When thou art in thy single shirt of linen (shroud),
      Thou shalt be (carried) to the gentle church;
      It will not be good in thy sight to conceal it,
      That for us on thee may be its strength.
    3. When there shall separate from thee there
      Thy eight nets 140 without error,
      We will entreat for thee to the end,
      And the clerics will entreat.


    1. Of it I told the story,
      Of the monster there, which was strong,
      When we saw therefrom
      On yon monster a human form. 221a
      We will bear it to our warm house,
      (To) the church because of its strength.
    2. From it we deem (the place) will be called,
      (From) the monster that was killed in its pool.
      The place will be mine without dispute,
      This land will be the land of Colman.
    3.  p.166
    4. I am Colman Ela;
      Good also in the sight of the one God
      Are the two who were once against me;
      I myself restrained them in one day.
    5. Cuinega answered me gently
      After the sermon which I preached to the king;
      For love of me openly
      He (went) to slay the monster.
    6. From the time that the monster was slain
      Dumb on the broad stream with its rough pools,
      I shall have, strong without concealment,
      Over them assuredly strength.


    After this lay Colman Ela proceeded to Land Ela, and made a fortified house therein, and blessed the cemetery in conjunction with the above-mentioned saints. And the monster was the first creature buried in Land Ela. And they constructed a great work there, to wit a causeway; and the length of the causeway was from Land Ela to Coill an Clair (the wood of the level); and swans used to come every hour to sing to them, and relieve their fatigue; so that for this reason the place was called Land Ela (Swans land).


    Now Colman Ela's tutor was Gregory the golden-mouthed. And he promised that whenever he should die, he would reveal the fact to Colman. And one day when Colman was making the causeway at the western stone (and no one ever laid a stone of the church, or of the stone enclosure, or of the causeway, without Duinecha being with him (i.e. Colman), and Cuineda (also) serving him manfully) Colman fell upon his knees, and it seemed to him that he heard the passing bell of Gregory the golden-mouthed. And swoon and deadly faintness fell upon Colman at that time at the intimation that his tutor had passed away.


    And his family asked him: “What is the reason of thy sadness, O holy clerk?” “Good cause have I for sadness,”  221b said he, “for I have heard the passing bell of my tutor.” “O mighty God,” said the clerks and the workpeople, “right marvellous is it in our eyes that any one in the world should hear the bells of Rome.” “I entreat the mighty God,” said Colman, “that ye yourselves, both clerks, and servants, and youths, may hear what I hear. Kneel down on your knees.” And they knelt. And this was the number of those that were there, four thousand four hundred, four score and ten. And there was not a single man among them at that time who did not hear the bells of Rome.


    And at the same time they saw (coming) towards them seven asses laden with seven sacks full of the soil of Rome. “Here, Colman, thou holy clerk,” said the  p.167 servants, “is the help which thy tutor sent to thee; shake it over the length and breadth of thy cemetery, and any one who is buried in it shall not see hell.” And it was shaken as directed. And then Colman said: “The first part of the cemetery shall be thine, O Duinecha; and the middle of it shall be thine, O Cuineda. And the rest of the cemetery shall belong to the Fir Cell and to the men of Erin. ”.


    Now the man who was abbot in Durrow in the absence of Columcille was Cormac Ua Liathain. And the family of Durrow committed an evil act against Colman without Cormac's leave. And this is what they did, to wit, they came to steal the earth (that came from Rome), and they came as far as the stone enclosure of the cemetery. And they only succeeded in carrying off some of the earth that was nearest to them on the outside of the stone enclosure. And this was noticed on the morrow; and Colman and his family followed the track of the earth as far as Durrow.


    And Columcille came home at that very hour, and the place where he was at the time was the little seat which is now called Columcille's little seat. And Colman Ela greeted him, and he wore a sinister smile as he greeted him; and Columcille answered  222a this smilingly; and he asked: “What is the matter of thy complaint, O Colman?” “I have great ground therefor,” said Colman, “for the compassionate gift of Roman earth which my tutor sent me, thy family came to steal last night. But, glory be to God, it was not that which they got.”


    “Do not curse us, O clerk,” said Columcille, “and thou shalt receive every satisfaction.” 141 “I will not curse thee,” said Colman, “for thou art not guilty towards me. But I shall curse Cormac Ua Liathain. And I beseech God that there may not be in all Erin a man of his race owning so much as a townland or a half townland; and that wolves may eat his flesh at the last.” Then said Columcille: “If it be thy wish, the earth shall be restored.” “I wish it not, said Colman, and I pray God that it may have for thee the virtue of the earth of Rome from henceforth.”


    “I think it right,” said Columcille, “to tell thee a difficulty of our own.” “What is this difficulty?” said Colman, “for there is no one to whom it were more fitting for us to refer any difficulty that we may have, than to thee, for thou art three days of every week in heaven.”


    “This is the difficulty that has befallen in the matter,” said Columcille: “Uanach, the sister of thy mother, and my own sister, has borne two sons to Maeluma son of Baetan, son of Fergus, son of Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the nine hostages; and I baptized them, and I named one of them Ultan, and the other Baithin. And  p.168 I would rather that they did not live, but that I could compass their destruction without shame to myself, for their father and mother are children of a brother and sister.  142 And I would fain have thy advice as to them.”.


    “My advice is soon given,” said Colman, “give them to me to nourish and to foster. And let us make a covenant respecting them, for I have two paps such as no saint ever had before, a pap with milk, and a pap with honey, and these I will give to them (to suck).” And the children were given to Colman, and he spoke this lay there:


    1. Two paps has Colman Ela,
      A pap of milk, a pap of honey;
      His right pap for fair Baithin,
      And his other pap for Ultan.
    2. The man who had these things,
      May my soul be in his protection;
      And in the protection of Christ of the Clans,
      May both my body and soul be.
    3. I myself have bequeathed to the Fir Cell
      When they do not respond to me steadily,
      And do not hold my fair,
      What to themselves will be highly dangerous.
    4. If there be but one place there,
      And it be dry around the church,
      If there came the high king of Fir Cell,
      And careful Duinecha,
      Duinecha would sit, methinks,
      First in the dry place.
    5. The help of Ui Duibhginn (is) mine;
      Long will be their service;
      Not more shall fall to the ground,
      The help brought (me) by Ua Bracain.
    6. They brought two full hundreds of milch cows
      To my great church,
      So that it was they who served me;
      With me they shall be of my freemen.
    7. I gave to them in return
      A place in the choir of my church,
      A little way from the bed (grave) of the kings,
      Without disturbance assuredly.

     26 p.169

    1. I went on a journey eastwards
      To Cantire in Alba;
      And I took with me
      Without neglect Duinech and Cuined.
    2. When we reached the king
      Of Alba of the many exploits,
      The king of Alba related the trouble
      To us clearly, and the destruction of his people:
    3. A poisonous monster (ranged) over the borders of the harbour,
      From its broad deep-pooled lake-lair;
      No fire can burn it in the fray,
      No point or edge can take effect on it.
    4. Fifteen men, as we know,
      Are in the place before thee,
      Slaughtered by it without mercy;
      And the monster (still) lives, O Colman.
    5. I will slay the monster for you,
      Said Colman thereupon,
      And (then) distribute ye my tribute without reproach
      Over Scotland and England.
    6.  222b
    7. Fifty feet are there on its belly,
      And fifty hideous claws;
      It slays the army of every famous land,
      As soon as ever they come to attack it.
    8. Yonder it (comes) to us without respite,
      To attack our land, O Colman.
      Woe to the famous race which it oppresses,
      For our swift destruction and our slaughter.


    1. Colman approached the strand,
      So did the affectionate Duinecha,
      With two spears in his fearless hand,
      And his long doughty sword.
    2. Colman of the churches looked on high
      To the high King of heaven right earnestly,
      And there was given to them (?him) from heaven above
      All that he purposed in his mind.
    3. Duinecha discharged the fair spear
      From the hand of the king's son,  143
      And the monster was slain by him,
      Dreadful, cruel, horrible.
    4.  p.170
    5. (I adjure thee) by thy name, (give) me the spear,
      The noble shaft of yew;
      And let its head be curved by me;
      Of it have I made my (pastoral) staff (bachall).


    1. Is it thy pleasure, O noble Duinecha,
      Now that the shaft of thine own spear
      Has become a pastoral staff exactly,
      That its tribute and stewardship should be thine? 221a
      Though it be not the business of a king's great son,  144
      Said Duinecha truly,
    2. I will give my seed to thee by agreement,
      And let them be under thy protection, O Colman.
      Give thy (pastoral) staff to thy own steward
      Anear and afar.
    3. The fifteen men assuredly
      Who were in that place dead,
      I restored to them all their souls
      By my prayer and by my pure psalms.
    4. I received a monastery from the king,
      From the high king of Alba in sooth,
      And I apportioned my famed tribute
      Between Erin and Alba.


    1. I come then to Fir Cell
      (With) Duinecha and Cuineda stoutly,
      And my bachall of white gold,
      They (the Fir Cell) are my lawful family.
    2. The house from which there were not received for me
      (The dues of) my bachall in that land,
      There shall not be corn nor milk therein,
      Nor with its son thereafter.
    3. There shall not be son to succeed the father, 223b
      Nor daughter to succeed the mother,
      Till doom, till doom, among the Fir Cell,
      Unless the tribute of the bachalls be (paid).
    4. I bequeath to the Fir Cell themselves
      In case they do not hold my own fair,
      That it shall be worse 145 for them than for me,
      If this is left unperformed.
    5.  p.171The sea shall not yield its tribute,
      The land shall not yield increase;
      Famine is to be expected in every quarter of the year,
      Stint of food and raiment
      Throughout the border of the Fir Cell,
      When my bachall returns thankless.
    6. Friend, till there be numbered
      The evil of women, or the sand of the sea
      Not more numerous are the herbs,
      Than these great miracles.


    1. Declare from me to the Fir Cell,
      And to (the men of) Eile without neglect,
      When they do not respond to myself,
      Whether near or far,
      (It is) well known to me what will come of it,
      There will be hell as the consequence.
    2. Every man of the Fir Cell
      Who shall not be steadfastly at my command,
      I entreat the one God truly
      That they may not get the milk of my two breasts. 146
    3. For these are my own two breasts 147;
      The heavenly city in beauty,
      I will not forsake it assuredly
      For whatever hardship I may find.
    4. Three sons of Donchad whom the assembly celebrates, 148
      Duinecha, Muad, and Aillean;
      Let not the Ui Duibhginn desert me
      Either anear or afar.
    5. Let Ua Gallgan be in my hand
      Till doom, and also Ua Bracain;
      The Ui Gruccain be with me openly,
      Let them come to my cemetery;
      The Ui Corracain with me assuredly;
      Let them not desert me because of disturbance.
      Two paps.


    And after this lay the youths Baithin and Ultan were studying at Land Ela, for this was one of the three chief fairs of Erin, (the three being) the fair of Teltown, the fair of Clonmacnois, and Land Ela. And the youths had special qualities; whatever  p.172 Ultan heard he remembered; and whatever was done to Baithin  224a no single word remained (with him). And this lay was spoken:


    1. Three fairs in Erin itself,
      I tell them to you in order;
      I have remembrance of them, and not scanty
      Is the relation of them, the knowledge of their names.
    2. The fair of Cluain which is the noblest of them;
      The fair of Teltown on the king's day;
      The third fair is my own fair
      Both anear and afar.
    3. I obtained from the high King of the stars,
      As to every man who comes there,
      The power of defending him in heaven,
      As his reward for seeing the day of my fair.
    4. Every man who submitted to me
      In every land beneath the sun,
      I leave to them in return
      That their eyes shall not see hell.
    5. From the Callraige -- which does not corrupt judgement --
      Under my staff, to Clann Colmain,
      A penny from every hearth (lit. smoke) to thee,
      And the fruit of battle (i. e. spoils).
    6. Every thing that I said of old
      I relate according to rule;
      I will not conceal it from any one in their borders
      That they are the three for you.
      Three fairs.


    After this lay Colman Ela beat his pupil Baithin, and Baithin went away after the beating, and Colman followed him. And a wretched leper, stark naked, met him at the monument outside the place; and he greeted Colman, and said to him: “Carry me on thy back, O holy clerk, to thine own altar for the love of God.” “Would not some other man do (as well) for thee, to carry thee there?” said Colman. “By no means,” said the leper, “for it is better in the eyes of God that thou thyself shouldest do obedience to Him.” “If that is so, then I will carry thee,” said Colman. And he took him to the altar.


    And the unhappy man said to him: “Put my nose in thy mouth, O Colman, for the love of God, and put in the corner of thy frock and carry out of the church, what is in it (i. e. in thy nose).” Colman did as the unhappy man said;  224b and carried the filth of the nose out of the church. And when he got outside, this is what he found in his bosom, an ingot of gold, and an inscription in letters of gold which  p.173 came from the Trinity; and Colman wondered thereat, and returned with all speed. But the leper had disappeared.


    As to Baithin, we have told how he ran away from study, and went to hide himself in the wood above Land Ela. And he saw a man fixing a single wattle, and when a wattle was fixed, he would go to fetch another to fix it in the same way. However the house was (gradually) raised by him. Baithin saw this, and this is what he said: If I had done my learning like that, and stuck to it, methinks I should have acquired learning. Then a heavy shower fell. Baithin went to seek shelter under an oak. And he saw a drop fall on a certain spot. And Baithin made a hole with his heel at the place, and the drop filled the hole then; whereupon Baithin said: If I had done my learning like that, I should have acquired learning. And he spoke this lay:


    1. With drops the pool is filled,
      With wattles the round house is made;
      The dwelling that is pleasing to God,
      Its family increases more and more.
    2. Had I been devoted to my own learning
      Anear and afar,
      Though little I might do, methinks
      I should have acquired learning enough.
    3. The one wattle which the man cuts,
      And fixes on his house,
      The house arises pleasantly,
      Though little be the one wattle that he fixes.
    4. The little hole which my heel made,
      Let it be good in the eyes of God and Colman
      Is full at every shower with the fair drop,
      The water in its little path.
    5. I make a renunciation, during all my time
      I will not forsake my learning;
      Whatever hardship I may find from it,
      I will pursue it henceforth.
    6.  225a
    7. Baithin himself related
      To Colman his own tutor,
      He made a strong vow to Colman
      That he would not desert his reading.
    8. “God Himself gave for thine instruction, my son,”
      “To thee the noble example,”
      Said gentle Colman replying to him,
      Full of nobility and true knowledge.

     36 p.174

    After this Colman Ela proceeded to meet Mochuda. And Mochuda had been expelled from Rathen; and he took his way through Fir Cell till he came to Duinecha's steading to seek food of Duinecha, and received a certain amount of food. And this was the number that was there (with Mochuda), viz. three fifties and three thousands. And this was the food which Duinecha gave them, three beeves and three tubs of milk. Mochuda said that this seemed little to him. If it be little, said Duinecha, cast thy poverty on Him (lit, on His back). And Mochuda said this lay:


    1. Cluain da crand (the mead of the two trees)
      Where lives Duinecha the hard and stingy;
      Let Duinecha be without Cluain,
      And let Cluain be without Duinecha;
      And let the third destruction
      Light on Fir Cell from me thrice over.
    2. Colman Ela himself
      Was listening to them in order;
      And it was clearly displeasing to him
      That the Fir Cell were being cursed.
    3. I bequeath from myself to Duinecha
      To be surly, hard, and frowning;
      I bequeath to them therefor,
      That their entertainment shall not be the worse for it.
    4. I leave moreover to the Fir Cell,
      That they shall be slain there like pigs;
      I leave to them on that account
      That they shall grow like bracken.
    5. I leave [therefor] to themselves,
      To the family of gentle Duinecha,
      That every man {} side {} —  149
      His life shall be shorter than any one's,
      And his luck shall be scantier.
    6. I leave to their women to be lustful,
      I leave to them to be wanton;
      I leave to them on that account
      Failure of prosperity and of progeny.  150


    1. Columcille came to them,
      A constant prince of righteousness,
      And it was clearly unpleasant to him,
      That his kinsmen should be cursed.
    2.  p.175
    3. Take off that curse,
      Said Colum boldly,
      (Otherwise) thy many saints shall be slain
      Either anear or at a distance.
    4. I pray the one God Himself,
      Said Mochuda himself,
      That God will not reverse it (the curse,)
      And I will not, if He does not.  151
    5. If the King regards me,
      Said Columcille truly,
      I will reverse it indeed, 152
      And so will Colman Ela.
    6. Columcille and Colman,
      Manchan and fair Odran,
      And all the saints of Erin
      (Combined) to change the curse.
    7. Mochuda almost repented
      Of what he did to them,
      When he saw in victorious array
      The saints of Erin coming to Cluain.


    1. Mochuda himself proceeded
      Onwards in his course that night,
      Until the young man came
      (to a place) In the wood where was an oak.
    2. His lepers screech at him,
      And so do his martyrs,
      And ask in what house
      In what place their books should be stored.
    3. Afterwards the oak bends
      To the saints after their conflict;
      The wretched ones remain about it,
      After their expulsion from Cluain.


    There were two youths in the family of Colman Ela. They grew to be big lads. Why is it, said the clerks, that no task of asceticism is ordained for those lads, for they are old enough for it. I will not ordain it, said Colman Ela. Why so? said they. For this reason, said Colman, the bed (abode) of one of them will be in hell, and whatever asceticism he may perform at that (his present)  p.176 age, it is no asceticism that he will perform at the end of his life, and it is in hell he will be. I will not deprive him of his share of the (present) world, for there is no ní  226a fochraic fil aicce. Ata leaba an reward for him (for such abstinence). The bed of the other one is in heaven, and though he performs no asceticism in that (his present) age, he will do so at the last, and will be in heaven, et reliqua.




    12. Life of Maedoc of Ferns

    In this Life


    A king succeeded to the province of Connaught whose name was Sena, and his wife was Eithne. They had neither son nor daughter born to them. They went to Drumlane to fast there with a view to obtaining an heir; and the woman saw a vision of the moon entering the mouth of the king, and the king in like wise saw a star entering the mouth of the queen. And this was the interpretation that was put upon the vision, that an eminent birth would proceed from them, whose fame would fill the lips of men; and like as a star guided the prophets (i.e. the Magi) to Jesus, so this star would guide the child to the Holy Ghost. And it befell that that very night the woman conceived.


    The woman went one day in a chariot; and a druid met her. Tis the sound of a chariot under a king, said he. The druid sees that there is no one in the chariot but the woman. There is a marvellous child in thy womb, said he, whose fame will fill the lips of men in heaven and earth.


    Not long afterwards the woman bore a son to whom the name Moeog was given; and he was honourably fostered in Breghmagh, and on the place in which he was born there rested for a long time a bright and  133 dazzling ray (lit. path) from heaven.


    Once upon a time Ainmire, king of Ireland, demanded hostages of Connaught, and Moeog was given to him in hostageship. The heart and mind of the king were attracted by the countenance and beauty of the boy, for it was plain to him that the grace of the Holy Spirit (rested) on Moeog. “Go home,” said the king, “or remain here in freedom.” “I will go,” said Moeog, “if thou allow the other hostages to go with me.” And the king allowed them to depart with his blessing, and each one of them set out for his own home.


    Once Moeog was with the shepherds of the king's fort, when they saw eight wolves coming towards the flock of Moeog, and they did obeisance before him, and he saw their wretchedness. “I grant,” said he, “a sheep to each wolf of you;” and they carried them off. The shepherds go to the fort, and complain of Moeog; and Moeog's foster-mother came out on the green, Moeog was frightened when he saw her, and prayed to God to help him against her. Then eight sheep in colour and fashion like the other sheep were sent, and joined the flock, and it was not known whence they came.  134 Moeog was put to the learning of Holy Church.


    Once Moeog was praying in the recesses of a wood, when he  p.178 saw a stag pursued by hounds, and the stag stopped by him. Moeog threw the corner of his plaid over its horns, to protect it from the hounds; and when these came up, they could not find trace or sight of it; and it afterwards betook itself to the wood in safety.


    One day Moeog and another disciple named Lasrianus were praying at the foot of two trees, and they loved each other very dearly. “Ah! Jesus,” said they, “is it Thy will that we should part, or that we should remain together to the end?” Then one of the two trees fell to the south, and the other to the north. By the fall of the trees, said they, it has been revealed that we must part. Moeog fared south, and built a noble monastery at Ferns, and Lasrianus fared north, and built a monastery in Devenish.


    One day Moeog was journeying over Slieve Beagh when night overtook him; and he prayed God to direct him on the right road. It was not long before he saw two angels,  135who took him on their hands, and carried him to the royal fort. And he erected a noble cross on the spot (lit. hill), to make known the miracle.


    One day Moeog was by the side of Lough Erne, and saw a woman coming to meet him, who was wringing her hands bitterly. “My son,” said she, “has been drowned in this lough, and two other children with him; and I and his father Eochaid, chief of this land, are going round to the saints of the land, to learn from them where we shall find his body; and they told us that we should learn it from thee.” The woman and Moeog went to the bank, but could not find out in what corner of the lough the bodies were. “Ah! Jesus,” said Moeog, “raise up for me the son of this woman, and the other bodies that are with him.” And at that word the boy arose in the presence of Moeog and the woman. Then Eochaid his father, king of the land, arrived on the spot (lit. hill), and offered the boy to God and Moeog in perpetuity.


    Moeog went to Britain to the place where David of Menevia, the holy bishop, resided.


    Once David and his monks (went) to  136 fetch firewood, and Moeog did not notice them (going). He had a book before him. reciting his psalms; and there was abundance of rain that day. There was a man in the place who hated Moeog. “Be off,” said he, after the monks, and take with thee yonder untamed oxen, which never yet bore burden, and bring back a load on them. He sent a man with Moeog armed with an axe, ordering him to cut off Moeog's head. Moeog arose, and left his book exposed to the pouring rain; and the oxen became obedient to him, and proceeded through the recesses of the wood by a path by which they had never been able to go previously, and that road has been practicable for every one ever since.


    And the man we have mentioned raised his axe over his head  p.179 to smite Moeog, and his two hands clave to the axe, and he could neither raise nor lower it. This was revealed to David, and he went to the place where they were; and they returned to the monastery, and the hands of the servant were loosed from the axe, and they found the book without a single letter of it obliterated or injured.


    One day Moeog was going to fetch ale for the monks, and the vessel  137 broke, and the beer was spilt. He made the sign (of the cross) with his hand over it, and repaired the damage, and carried the ale to the monks.


    And a dumb son of the king was brought to him on one foot and one hand and one eye, and he returned home whole by the grace of God and Moeog.


    Once Moeog saw a man coming to him, whose face was all flat like a board. 155 He begged Moeog to help him for love and pity. I ask God to help thee, said Moeog. And his face and form became like other men's.


    Moeog asked leave of David to return to Ireland. And when he came to Ireland he said: “Take me back to where David is, that he may show me who is to be my confessor.” But the boatmen were not willing to return. Moeog leaped out of the boat, and walked from wave to wave, and an angel of God met him. Thou needest no confessor, said he, but Jesus; for there is no guilt on thee. Moeog started again for Ireland. He landed in Ui Cennselaig, and built a  138 noble church there.


    He had two cows and a calf. A wolf came to the monastery green. “Is it to seek thy meat from God thou art come?” said Moeog; and gave it the calf. “The cows will not give their milk without the calf,” said the herd. “Go and milk them,” said Moeog, raising his hand over his (the herdsman's) head, and they will give their milk for thee as for the calf; and so they did.


    An army invaded Ui Cennselaig one day, and all the territory took refuge with Moeog in his sanctuary (termon). Moeog drew a line with his bachall round the kine, and the army stopped from pursuing the cattle, except one of the (invading) chiefs, and he died as soon as he had passed the line. And the army, seeing this, returned to its own borders; and the kine remained with Moeog.


    Once the king of Ui Cennselaig was on a plundering expedition, and Moeog met him, and the king gave him an alms, and proceeded to his house. And disease and grievous sickness overtook him, so that it seemed to him as if his spirit departed from him. And hell was revealed to him, with horrible animals attacking him, and one animal with its breath dragged the king and drew him to its  139 very mouth, when he saw the poor man putting the alms, which the  p.180 king had given him, into the beast's mouth. But it did not cease to drag the king, till the poor man brought down his bachall on the mouth of the beast. The king awoke, and told all that he had seen. “Send for Moeog,” said they, “and thou shalt learn everything from him.” “It is fitter that I should fare to the servant of God,” said the king; and he went to where Moeog was. “This is the man to whom I gave the alms,” said the king, “and who freed me from the maw of the beast.” And the king gave him Ferns in perpetuity, and he built a noble church there, which still remains.


    The inhabitants complained to Moeog that the place was waterless. “Dig at the root of yonder tree,” said Moeog, “and ye shall find a spring.” They did so, and found (as he said). And the stream began to flow along the boundary of land belonging to another man beside the fort.


    And the women of the place would come on their side to wash and bathe at the spring which Moeog had revealed. “Do not wash here,” said Moeog; “this is the monks domestic spring, and it is not fitting for women to consort with them.” “We will,” said  140 they, “to us belongs the side (of the stream) which skirts our land.” The daughter of the king went one day to the spring to bathe, and the sand and gravel of the spring clave to her. Her father came to Moeog to beg him to help her, offering himself to him in perpetuity. And so it was done.


    Once Moeog went to a monastery to visit a monk who was sick. “All the monks are sick,” said the abbot, “and do ye tend them while ye are here.” “God is able to heal them,” said Moeog; and so it was done. Three days were they tending them; and then the abbot begged Moeog to leave them in the same sicknesses (that they had before). And he did so, though it was grievous to him.


    Moeog was going to Ferns when he saw a team with plough-iron and coulter coming towards him from a distance. And he took it with him to give it as an alms to the daughters of Aed son of Cairbre, who had dedicated their lives to God. And a poor man met him on the road, and begged an ox of Moeog; and he gave him one, and took the remaining oxen to the place where the  141virgins were. But they could not plough for want of the aforesaid ox. An ox was seen coming to them from the sea; and they put the yoke upon it, and it ploughed like any (other) ox. And it would come at the beginning of each day, and return to the sea every night. Three months did it on this wise.


    One time Moeog saw messengers of David (coming) to where he was. “Go,” said they, “to David. His last days have come; get to him (lit. overtake him) before his death.” Moeog went to Britain, and administered the Communion to David. “I promised,” said Moeog, “to be in Ireland again (to-day).” “Go,” said David,  p.181 “to the strand, and whatever wild animal thou shalt find there, mount it, and it will carry thee to Ireland; and I will send thy companions after thee.” And they parted from one another with grief and sorrow, for they knew well that it was a final separation. Moeog went to the port, and found a wild animal there which he did not know, and he mounted it, and it carried him to Ferns.


    And he fasted forty days and nights there, as did Jesus and Elias and Moses; and it caused in him no weakness or decay.


    Once Moeog was on the brink of Ath Imgain, and he was old at that time.  142 The driver of his chariot asked him: “Who is the man who shall be bishop in Ferns after thee?” “The first man who occupies the ford yonder,” said he. A troop appeared (coming) towards the ford hurling and sporting, and they were clerks. And one sportive clerk of them came towards the ford, and came to the place where Moeog was. “I should like to be of your company,” said he. “What is thy name?” said Moeog. “Moling,” said he. They remained together till the death of Moeog; and Moling was called bishop in Ferns.


    Moeog heard after this that a kinsman of his was detained as a hostage by the king of Ui Conaill Gabra. He went to the king's fort, and he was kept three days and nights in front of the fort without food or drink. And the delivery of the hostage was refused him; and the king's daughter died that night. The queen took her daughter to the place where Moeog was. “Raise her for me,” said she, “for it is thou who didst kill her.” The heart of Moeog was moved towards her, and he interceded with God, and the maid arose. But the heart of the king was not moved towards Moeog, and he (Moeog) went aside to curse him. “Do not curse the king,” said the queen, but lay thy curse on yonder great stone.  143 “I will,” said Moeog, and with the word of the saint the stone broke in two. Fear seized the king, and he prostrated himself before Moeog, and gave up the prisoner to him; and granted Cluain Claidmech to him in perpetuity, and Moeog built a venerable church there, and left some of his saints there to chant the divine office; and he and the king parted from each other in peace and amity.


    Once Moeog was setting out for Cashel, when the horses of his chariot stopped dead. They wondered at this, till they heard the voice of an angel above them: “Not to Cashel is it God's will for thee to go,” said he. “Guaire, king of Connaught, lies sick at Kilmacduagh. Go to where he is; for it is to thee God has granted his healing.” And the chariot took the road to Kilmacduagh, and Lough Derg dried up before it (and became) like any plain. And two men met them, of whom they asked the way. “It is all wood and swamp from here (lit. from yourselves) to Kilmacduagh,” said they; “but if ye are of the household of God, let Him make plain a way for you.” “God can  p.182 do so,” said Moeog. And He made a level plain of the swamp, and they came to Kilmacduagh. And Moeog healed Guaire  144 by the grace of God, and revealed to him that he would be thirty years in all in the kingship of Connaught, three years of which he would be in sickness, and would gain heaven after death in reward for his generosity and compassion.


    One day Moeog was teaching a student, when he saw a golden ladder descending by his side; and Moeog went up the ladder. And when he returned, the student asked him whither he had been. “Columcille has died,” said he, “and the glory and honour of the family of heaven went to meet him, said he, and I went to do him reverence with them.”


    One day a company came with deceit and subtlety to Moeog to ask alms of him. And they had left their garments concealed in a secret place; and this was revealed to Moeog. And he sent to fetch the garments, and gave them as alms to other poor men; and they (the former company) departed from Moeog without clothing, and without alms.


    Brandub son of Eochaid, king of Leinster, was slain by Saran, a Leinsterman. “This is grievous to me,” said Moeog, “(he was) the head of the poor, and the protector of the weak; and may the hand fall off that smote that true hero.” Moeog went to Ferns, and proceeded to the tomb of Brandub.  145 “Arise,” said he, “in the name of Jesus, and rule thy kingdom.” Brandubh came forth from the grave, and joined Moeog. “Bring me not back to this frail world,” said he, “let me go to heaven now.” He made his confession to Moeog, who permitted him to go to heaven.


    Saran then lay down on Brandub's grave in deep penitence, and with bitter weeping. His hand fell off from him, as Moeog had previously requested; and he was a good man afterwards till at last he died.


    Once Moeog was sowing barley seed, when a man came to the field. “I am destitute,” said he, “and my lord has a heavy rent on me, and I would fain have an alms.” And he gave him the barley that was in his bosom, after turning it into gold. The man took the gold with him to pay it to the king. “From whom didst thou get the gold?” said the king. “Moeog gave it to me,” said the man. “Thy debts depart with thee,” said the king; “take the gold to Moeog.” Moeog turned the gold back into barley, and it grew like any (other) barley.


    One day Moeog was building a church, and he could not find any wright to fashion it. So he blessed the hand of a man of his (monastic) family,  146 named Goban, and he erected the church with wondrous carvings, and brave ornaments, that there was not the like of it (anywhere), and no one in his time surpassed this Goban in Wright's craft.


    Moeog was once washing at the river, and a man came behind him and put his two hands on him, and left him in the water to drown. Moeog came to land afterwards without any moisture on his hair or clothing. “Forgive me my wrong, O clerk,” said he. “I am willing that God should pardon it,” said Moeog; “and hadst thou not said this, the earth would have swallowed thee. Repent, for thou shalt die four days hence for the deed thou hast done.” And this was fulfilled.


    One day a thief stole a sheep from Moeog's flock; and the thief after eating the sheep went to the church to take (an oath on) the relics in it (that he had not stolen it). As he took hold of the relics, the ears of the sheep protruded from his mouth.


    There was a certain nobleman in Rome of Latium who was paralysed, and neither saints nor leeches were able to heal him; and he came to Ireland to seek Moeog, having heard of his miracles. But Moeog had died before his arrival, so he entered the bier in which Moeog was being  147carried, and he was healed at once by the grace of God and Moeog.


    There was a man in Leinster who had lain sick for thirty years. He saw a vision of a chariot coming to him from heaven with an aged clerk in it, and a virgin. “Whence are ye!” said the man. “I am Moeog,” said the clerk, “and this is Brigit. To-morrow is my day, and the day after to-morrow is Brigit's day; and we are come from on high to glorify Jesus on our days. And be thou ready,” said he, “(for) thou shalt die on the third day, and shalt obtain the heavenly kingdom for thy soul.” The holy man, whose name was Fintan, went to Kildare in Magh Life, a church of Brigit's, and related to the people the vision which he had seen; and he died the third day, as Moeog had revealed to him, and he passed to heaven.


    Moling was ordained as bishop in Ferns after Moeog. No single person ever went to sleep in Moeog's bed. “I can sleep in it,” said Moling. He got into the bed, and was greatly troubled and diseased, and could not sleep in it. So he entreated Moeog earnestly for help, and  148 found it forthwith through his prayer to Moeog. Moling quitted the bed, and said that no man living was worthy to enter it.


    And though Moeog passed to heaven, he did not cease from his miracles on earth. For by the earth (of his sepulchre), by his clothing, and by his relics were healed blind and deaf and lame and all other diseases. And though we have related some of the miracles of Moeog, we have not related the whole of them. On the second day of the month of February Moeog joined the company of angels and archangels in the Unity of the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.



    13. Life of Maedoc of Ferns


    In this Life


    There was a rich nobleman in Connaught named Sétna, son of Erc, &c. 156 He had a wife named Eithne of the race of Amalgaid son of Fiachra, son of Eochaid Muigmedon. They had no heir, neither son nor daughter; and they entreated God earnestly and devoutly that they might have a son worthy to take their place after them. In this behalf they gave frequent alms with fastings and abstinences. The saints and righteous men joined in their prayers, that they might obtain their request from the one God.


    After this Sétna and Eithne were together; and Eithne saw a vision, as it were a star falling down from heaven into her mouth; and Sétna himself saw the same vision, to wit, a star falling from heaven into his wife's mouth. When they arose they told each other what they had seen. They also told the vision to men of prudence and penetration. And this is what they said to them: “A star, said they, guided the kings to Christ to adore Him, when He was born in Bethlehem, and by the same sign which has been revealed to you, a noble and worshipful son will be born of you, who will be filled with the grace and favour of the Holy Spirit.” In the same night the holy and mighty one was conceived in his mother's womb, to wit Maedoc; and it is for this cause that he is called son of the star.


    After this Eithne, being pregnant with Maedoc, was going one day in her chariot on some business. A cunning druid met her on the road; and when he heard the thunder and noise of the chariot coming towards him, he said: “Tis under a king that this chariot is running towards us, or under the favour of the Holy Spirit.”  168b One of them went to look who was in it, and saw that there was no one there but Eithne. Thereupon the druid said to her: “Thou shalt bear a beautiful and mighty son, said he, who will be full of the grace and exceeding favour of the Holy Spirit.”


    So the boy was born in Inis Brechmaighe in Magh Slecht, to speak precisely. The sign and presage of his sanctity was evident on the innocent child from his birth through the favour of the Lord; for in the place where he was born there was for a long time no want of light by day or night.


    The first miracle of Maedoc after his birth was that on the stone on which he was carried to his baptism folk would be ferried backwards and forwards as in any ferry-boat.


    Another of Maedoc's miracles was this: the webstress's slay which Eithne held at the child's birth made of hard dry hazel-wood produced afterwards leaves and goodly flowers; and this hazel still stands, a fresh unaging tree, in Inis Brechmaighe in token of the miracle. The learned men of the district say with reference to this hazel, that when earth from it over which nine Masses have been said is inserted between prisoners and their chains (lit. irons), they thereupon escape forthwith.


    And it is to commemorate 157 these miracles that this poem was made:

    1. The first of the miracles of Maedoc of the relics;
      Hereafter we shall see clearly;
      To recount them is due from me,
      A poet ought to reveal (them).
    2. The stone on which Aedóc was baptized,
      The marvellous saint Maedóc,
      Went from one bank to the other,
      Like a ferry-boat plying.
    3. Another of his miracles:
      Magh Slecht for a period of time
      Both by day and night, -- a fitting thing --
      Was all in one blaze of light.
    4. The stick of a webstress found in the house,
      Held by Eithne in the time of her travail,

      A withered hazel staff,
      Was covered with fair fresh leaves.
    5. This hazel is still a fresh hazel,
      And will remain so without changing
      Till the end of the world shall come,
      In flowery Inis Brechmaighe.
    6. It is of the virtues of the hazel of great Maedoc,
      That earth from it as a preservative 158 of escape
      Will arise till the strict judgement,
      An addition to his first miracles.
      First miracle.


    So this holy noble-mannered child was baptized by a devout and chaste priest and by his guardian angel. He was given to be  p.186 fostered and nurtured by Úa Dubthaig (O Duffey), that is Dubthach son of Dub-da-Crich, &c. And this Dubthach was one of six sons of Dub-da-Crich, as the poet shows:

    1. Six sons of Dub-da-Crich renowned,
      Dubthach, Dogran of the bright countenance,
      Maelbennachtaid, beauteous Murchad,
      Guaire, and Fannan of the curly hair.


    The child was nurtured zealously and affectionately by Úa Dubthaig (O Duffey) and his other fosterers, more  159 carefully indeed than any other child, and was kept from everything unlawful by reason of the abundant shining and enlightment of the Holy Spirit in him. And his nurturers, that is his foster-mother and nurses, as is the way of loving and affectionate foster-mothers, openly gave him through love and affection an eke-name, calling him habitually my little Aed (mo Aed óc), so that the name Maedoc stuck to him as a surname to the exclusion of other names.


    Thus the grace of the mighty Lord rested evidently on this child Maedoc, beyond all other children of his time. Long before had he been foretold, for the prophet of truth, Finn mac Cumaill, chief sage and prophet of Erin, had foretold the elect cleric, the glorious and wonder-working Maedoc son of Sétna, a long period of time before his birth, that is the period of twenty kings of Ireland, to wit from the time of Art son of Conn the hundred-fighter, to the time of Ainmire son of Sétna, &c.,  169bin whose time Maedoc was born; for so great was the interval between Finn and him, when Finn foretold his coming, at the time that Goll mac Morna killed Ferna mac Cairill, the son of the chief of the Deisi of Munster, and a favourite of Finn's.


    And as he was being buried under 160 the ground, Finn put his thumb under his tooth of knowledge, that true knowledge of the future might thereupon be revealed to him, and ignorance re moved (lit, concealed) from him. “By my word,” said he, “O Ferna mac Cairill, well is thee to be buried in that place by reason of the number of harmonious bells, and fair learned books, and offerings of the Lord's Body which will be above thy head to the world's end.”


    And prophesying of Maedoc he spoke this poem:

    1. Ath Ferna (Ferna's ford),
      The place where excellent Maedoc will be;
      Though many to-day its litters (of wolf-cubs),
      Many will be its heavenly cries.
    2.  p.187
    3. Ath Ferna of the green strand!
      Excellent will be the man who will own it;
      Confessors will come thither;
      It will be a place dear to God.
    4. Maedoc with his company will come.
      (Like) the sheen of the sun athwart showers;
      The son of the star will come,
      A star victorious for ever.


    1. Maedoc with his company will come,
      Across Ath Finnglaisi Fia;
      He will be a clerk who will raise it;
      Sroibgenn will be a man of God.
    2. It will be an angelic 161 place,
      The place where the fair fian will be cooking;
      Maedoc with his company will come;
      Welcome the king whose mighty sepulchre it is.
    3. He will be a strong wealthy prince,
      He will be a flame of fierce doom;
      Maedoc with his company will come,
      He will be a wave over many fords.


    So the father of baptism and of lasting belief to the men of Erin, St. Patrick, prophesied of the same patron saint, Maedoc the mighty of the sweet words, as he was traversing the deserts and fastnesses of the Úi Briuin, when he heard the melodious and harmonious chant of the angels  170a near him, and the many varied songs, and the sweet angelic harping, and the heavenly sounds of their utterance and swift chanting. The thrice fifty holy clerks who were with Patrick asked: “Why do we not settle in this place, in which are the cry and song of the angels, and make our habitation and abode on this ridge which is beside the water?” (Druim leth re han).


    “(15) That shall be its name for ever,” said Patrick, “namely, Druim Lethan. However, not to us is it granted to settle there, but to Aed the son of Sétna, that is to Maedoc of Ferns, the mighty and wonder-working saint, the head and chief of the saints of Leth Cuinn in general, and of Oriel, that is of the clans of the Collas is his race, and he will serve Breifne, for in it he will be born, as is understood and foretold, in Inis Breghmaighe in Magh Slecht of Connaught at the end of thirty years from to-day. And he is destined to inhabit and occupy this place. And though marvellous in your eyes be the number of the trees on the ridge on which ye are, Druim Lethan, not  p.188 more numerous are they than the prayers and hymns, the psalms and genuflexions, the alms and Masses which will be performed on it in the time of the noble angelic saint, and the perfect powerful righteous man, and the gentle devout clerk, Maedoc the son of Sétna, and after him to the end of the world. ”


    Patrick baptized and blessed the place for Maedoc there. He bequeathed to it grace and good fortune, bliss and blessing, wealth and hospitality, pre-eminence in foot-washing and in service, and honour above every (place); and he spoke this poem:

    1. I reveal true knowledge,
      To you, O religious clerks,
      From God it was made sure to us;
      Not to me was granted
    2. To remain in this place,
      Drumlane, which I shall not attempt;
      But to the elect cleric,
      To noble angelic Maedoc;
    3. Head of the saints and holy patrons
      Of Leth Cuinn162 is he to be reckoned;
      To the seed of victorious Colla
      Are the steps of his genealogy counted.
    4.  170b
    5. At the end of thirty great years,
      On Magh Slecht, to speak precisely,
      Will this fair son be born,
      The gracious son of the star.
    6. Till doom this will be his surname;
      I bless this place
      Wherein will dwell the choice, righteous man,
      Ere Maedoc of the mighty works shall come
      To protect and strengthen,
      To preserve and consecrate it.
    7. The honour of this place
      From Maedoc will increase
      Until the day of Monday's doom shall come;
      To you now I reveal it.
      I reveal.


    After this, while Maedoc was a young tender lad, Ainmire son of Sétna, &c., king of Erin, came to the Úi Briuin to take hostages and pledges from them, as was the usual custom of kings and chiefs at that time. Maedoc, like others, was given to him in pledge by his  p.189 father, Sétna son of Erc, for Sétna was a powerful and substantial man.


    Now as Ainmire was returning, his pledges preceded him on the road. It was revealed to the king of Erin how the favour of the Holy Spirit rested on Maedoc beyond all the other boys. On perceiving this he said: “Of a truth perfect and highly favoured is this youth Maedoc, said he, and he must needs be with me on this royal progress on which I am; or, if he prefer to be released and to return, he shall have his choice. ”.


    On hearing this Maedoc said: “If it be thy pleasure to set me free, I pray thee in honour of the blessed Trinity to set free the other youths also from the pledge-ship in which they are.” “Thou shalt have this boon,” said the king. Thereupon they were all allowed to return home. Ainmire commended himself to Maedoc in soul friendship (i. e. as his confessor), for he understood that he would one day be a strong pillar in the catholic Church, as was fulfilled. So that this was the first honour  171a shown to Maedoc and his comrades through the favour of the Lord attending him.


    One day as Maedoc was playing with the herdsmen on the land, and minding the sheep of his foster-mother, there came towards him gently and fawningly eight wolves together, poor, weak, and starving. He looked on them and said to them: “Take,” said he, “eight wethers from the flock, and eat them.” The wolves did as Maedoc commanded them, and departed to the wood; and these wethers belonged to Maedoc's foster-mother. The herdsmen thereupon went home promptly and told Maedoc's foster-mother what he had done.


    His foster-mother set off towards Maedoc in great wrath. Maedoc was much frightened when he saw her, and said: “O Almighty God, Lord Jesus Christ, help and assist me, for it was in honour of Thee that I gave food to the poor starvelings.” That very moment there appeared between Maedoc and his foster-mother eight wethers of the same colour, size, and form as the first sheep. They came gently and caressingly towards the flock like the other sheep. No one under heaven from that day to this knows whence they came on that errand. So the name of God and of Maedoc was glorified through these miracles.


    And it was to show this that an author made the following lay:

    1. One day Maedoc -- great was the grace --
      Was tending sheep for his foster-mother,
      When he saw coming to his side
      Eight wolves together.
    2.  p.190
    3. For the wolves that confronted him
      The cleric was seized with pity;
      Beyond all other animals
      They were poor, wretched, and out-worn.
    4. From my foster-mother, (to stand) between you and death,
      Take eight wethers of the great flock
      In the name of God -- zealous was the hospitality --
      Said wonder-working Maedoc.
    5. When she heard of the destruction of her sheep,
      The foster-mother of the oft-victorious patron saint,
      Great anger came upon her therefor,
      Whereat the saint was filled with fear.
    6. Aed son of Sétna, on whom no blot was seen,
      Asked God to help him

      Against the unmeasured wrath of his foster-mother;
      Against her he did not attempt to plead.
    7. As a reward of the hospitality of the young Aed
      He obtained a boon from the Trinity,
      Eight other sheep of one colour
      And form with the first sheep.
    8. (Thus) by the Wright of the Universe was delivered
      Young Aed from the wrath of his foster-mother;
      The son of Sétna more and more prevailed
      With God the Father each day.
      One day.


    So when the father and mother of Maedoc saw the greatness of the favour which God conferred upon him, they put him to learning, and the fame of his devotion, and the excellence of his studies, his knowledge and his deep learning became generally known.


    One day a number of holy blameless men were earnestly entreating God to reveal to them the place of their resurrection, for they wished to serve God earnestly in that place. An angel came to them, and told them to go where Maedoc was, and he would reveal to them the place of their resurrection. They went to him at the angel's bidding. Maedoc asked of them: “Did ye hear the voice of any bell as ye came hither?” said he. They said that they did not. “Come with me then,” said he, that I may show you the place of your resurrection. They went with him, and he informed them where their resurrection would be, and they remained there till the time of their death, leading a life of marvellous blessedness.


    Another day Maedoc was in a retired spot reading his  p.191 psalms. A harassed 163 weary stag came to him, pursued hotly by the hounds, and stopped in front of him. Maedoc perceived that he was asking him to protect him; so he put his rosary on the stag's horns.  164 The hounds followed the stag, and it appeared to them as in the form of a man. And they did not follow it (any further), and it escaped uninjured  172a after laying down the rosary. And the name of God and of Maedoc was magnified through these miracles.


    Maedoc and Molaise of Devenish were comrades. It happened that they were one day together (sitting) at the root of two trees on Magh Slecht in Breifne of Connaught. They entreated God earnestly to reveal to them whether they were to remain together, or whether they must needs separate from one another. The two trees under which they then were fell, one to the north, and the other to the south; the tree under which Molaise was fell to the north, and that under which Maedoc was fell to the south.


    Thereupon they said: This is a sign of our separation given us by God, said they. And as the trees have now fallen, said Maedoc, so ought we to depart from one another; thou, Molaise, to the north, and I to the south. Thereupon they bade each other farewell, and kissed each other sweetly and caressingly. Molaise went north to Lough Erne, and built a fair and famous church, Devenish. Maedoc went south and built there a fair church and venerable monastery, Ferna Mor Maedoc, in the centre of Leinster.


    Another time Daimin son of Cairbre, nicknamed Dam Argait ( Silver Ox ), with two other children was drowned in Lough Erne, (Cairbre his father being) son of Eochaid &c. 165, a valiant and powerful man in Connaught. And his body could not be found and raised. So the mother of Daimin went round to many of the saints of Erin, seeking of them that she might recover the bodies of the children for interment. And she did not obtain her request from any of them. Molaise of Devenish said to her: “Remain here,” said he, till “Maedoc comes to thee; for I know that he will recover those bodies and raise them, and that he will restore them to life by the favour of the Holy Spirit. ”


    Shortly afterwards Maedoc came to them.  172b The woman told him all that we have related, and wept and lamented grievously before him. In the end Maedoc took pity and compassion on her. He went to the lough and prayed intensely to God, and the dead children rose up alive, (and came) to him, and he afterwards ordered them to their mothers. When Cairbre son of Eochaid saw his son raised from death, he gave himself and his son, and his seed, to God and Maedoc in  p.192 perpetuity, and a scruple from every house in the nine cantreds of Oriel. And the name of God, &c.


    And it was to set forth this a poet said:

  • Another tale of Aed in particular;
    (The tales of him are a great matter to circulate;)
    He was a prophet for prophecy,
    The high-born heir 166 of Sétna.
  • Of holy men of power
    A company came to him in friendship,
    (Seeking) knowledge of their place of resurrection
    Of which they were ignorant.
  • They set their mind on increasing
    The discreet company of pilgrims;
    To their death-sod without deception
    They obtained from him guidance. 167
  • Together they spent,
    Without ever removing from it,
    In that place the whole space
    Of their gentle devout life.
  •  31
  • The harassed weary stag
    He saw coming to him in its course;
    The glorious and mighty 168 righteous man
    Protected it from the hounds.
  •  32
  • The devotion of the two Christians,
    What devotion had greater beauty?
    It was a perfect covenant,
    The covenant of Maedoc with Molaise.
  • God gave the sign of their separation,
    After their two hearts had meditated (thereon);
    A proof of His permission
    Was the falling apart of the trees.
  • As soon as they understood,
    That they were sent apart,
    Their backs forthwith they turned
    On one another, but not their two hearts.
  • Molaise the youthful, the wise, came
    To Devenish the strong fort;

    Maedoc the generous, the hospitable,
    Went to great Ferns of Leinster.
  •  p.193
  • He has every good reason for it (?)
    Whoever would be entreating them,
    (To procure) from the King of heaven and of the sacred earth
    The union of them all in one place.
  • Molaise 169 taught the high creed
    On Slieve Beagh, a deed of help;
    He obtained as assistance from the angel
    Light in his mirk time of darkness.
  •  33
  • The son of swift intelligent Cairbre,
    Daimin, who was not weak 170 in the fray,
    Was drowned in the stream of ancient Erne,
    And two others with him.
  • The saints of Banba with melodious words
    Were entreated by his white-fingered mother
    At that time, though it was excessive,
    For the restoration of the soul of her one son.
  • Till Aed the noble came,
    From no saint did she obtain her request,
    The generous elect righteous man,
    Who always observed his rule.
  • The modest brilliant queen,
    After visiting known and unknown, 171
    To Maedoc the great wonder-worker
    Lamented sadly and pathetically.
  • The saint took compassion
    On the woman of the heavy sorrow;
    Out of her bitter lamentation he intreated,
    Maedoc, for help to (be given) her.
  • The son of Cairbre the fair, the valiant,
    Daimin, who was hardy in battles,
    He revived at that time,
    After being drowned a long while.
  • Daimin by the death-dealing lord
    (After he had risen from death to life)
    By the martial descendant of Colla was placed
    Under tribute to Maedoc without deceit. 172
  •  p.194
  • A scruple from every single house
    He bound upon the nobles of Oriel
    To Maedoc the noble and slender,
    And to be ever at his will.
  • He gave refusal to the inhospitable,
    Such as no one ever gave before;
    As to Maedoc the hospitable, the patient,
    There is written many another tale.
  •  xiv

    After the sanctity and renown of Maedoc had thus increased, many men came from every quarter of Ireland to be under his government and rule. Maedoc desired to forsake his own land and country  173b and to flee therefrom, for he did not wish to be honoured and renowned in this way.


    So he meditated going on pilgrimage to Rome, to acquire carefully knowledge and expertness in the divine Scripture, as other saints and devotees were wont to do at that time. Now these are the associates and companions who are mentioned as going with Maedoc on this great journey, viz. Caillin the ascetic and chaste of Fenagh of Magh Rein, his tutor and instructor, Molaise the divine and learned of Devenish, and Ultan, the wise and gracious of  173 Ardbreckan; for these four were united to one another in one common bond in heaven and in earth.  174


    There were further the other steadfast, intelligent, conscientious four, who were his confidants and loyal friends beyond all others, viz. Cele and Aedan of Ferna Mor Maedoc, Faircellach of Drumlane, and Fergus of Rossinver175. These are the four to whom Maedoc entrusted the storing up and preservation of his great treasure, and great riches, during his life, and to whom he conveyed in inheritance the headship and coarbship of his cells and fair churches, the exaction of his dues and tributes after him; and these were severally the confidants and counsellors, the fellow-voyagers 176and shipmates of the chaste and prayerful saint when he quitted Ireland.


    When this devout and holy band reached Rome, God wrought a genuine and evident miracle to make them known to all; to wit, the bells of the place rang of themselves without any human agency, but solely by the operation of the one Almighty God. Great wonder and astonishment of mind, and trembling of heart fell on all the citizens in general at hearing these sacred signs, until they finally obtained information, when the successor of Peter and Paul made  p.195 known the devotion and orthodoxy of this band of worthy saints who had come from Ireland.


    Three of them were ordained as regular bishops by him after the testimony of men, the election of the Trinity, and the permission  174a of the dread and mighty Lord, to wit, Maedoc the wonder-worker of the sweet words, Molaise of the mighty works, the modest, and Caillin the devout and orthodox. It was on this journey that Maedoc of the mighty works received through his holiness two signal gifts from the Trinity which were left on the altar of Peter in Rome in his presence, and handed down from heaven, as he there found them; viz. the variegated (crozier) of Maedoc, one of his seven relics, and the staff of Brandub; as a poet said:

    1. The variegated (crozier) of Maedoc from the plain of heaven
      The noble patron saint received,
      And he received the staff of Brandub
      From the fair starry vault.


    A whole year were the clerks together in Rome on this occasion, acquiring such knowledge and expertness in the Holy Scripture as they required, and receiving honour, and reverential respect, and authority, from the Pope with his clergy and cardinals. They bade farewell to one another after binding harmoniously their mutual alliance and union, and after the confirmation of them (the Irish saints) in dignity and great honour and in good orders by the vicegerent of God on earth, so that they returned to Ireland to their several places with authority and renown for orthodoxy and devotion.


    Aed Dub (the Black) son of Fergna, son of Fergus, the king of the Úi Briuin, heard of the manifold miracles done by Maedoc, and the honour and great reverence which he had received at Rome, and the two noble and illustrious gifts which he had received there, the variegated (crozier) and the staff. He came zealously to him, and fasted humbly to him (asking him) to obtain from God for him a change of form and feature, for up to that time he was 177 hideous. Maedoc then put the head of Aed under his cowl. Aed fell asleep on the spot under Maedoc's cowl; and the form which he put upon him was the form of Aedan son of Éicnech the one most beautiful man of all the men of Erin in his time.


    He was afterwards baptized at Ath Airm (Weapon Ford) in Coill na gCros (Wood of the Crosses); and it is from the marking of the king with the Cross, and his consignation, that  174b the place is called Coill na gCros, and Ath Airm from the weapons and dress of the king which were taken from him while he was being baptized and blessed (and were given) in perpetuity to God and to Maedoc. And the name  p.196 Aed Finn (the Fair) was given him; and he gave to Maedoc a scruple from every house under his authority 178 as his baptism-fee, and he gave himself in perpetuity to God and to Maedoc for ever, and that there should never be any right of distraint on territory or tribe to any of the seed of Aed Finn who should divert his service and dues from Maedoc. For every plague and war and destruction of men, that has come or shall come, upon the Úi Briuin or men of Breifne, is due to the curse and heavy displeasure of Maedoc at their withholding his service and dues, and to their neglecting his tribute.


    Now this is the baptism-fee (given) by Aed Finn to Maedoc, 179 -- a scruple yearly to Maedoc from every house, the horse and robes of every king and every queen, the robes and dress of every chief and every chieftainess; a cow on a halter out of every (cattle-)raid from every Breifne man between Drumcliff and Kells; a beast out of every estate to Maedoc's coarb, a foal from every stud, a pig from every sty, a sheep from every flock, an ox at every festival of Maedoc, a charge of iron from every smith to the great church, circuit dues at Easter and Christmas to Maedoc's monks and stewards, and (Maedoc's coarb) to be the first to sit down in the banqueting hall, and to have the lead in counsel and conference, and in every house in which there is a man of Maedoc's family (he is to have) the first horn in time of drinking 180; peace not to be made in Úi Briuin without the coarb of Maedoc making it and drawing it up, otherwise they will be conspicuous for lack of peace.


    A foster-child from the coarb of Maedoc to be fostered by the king of Breifne, and to be supplied with food, and clothing, and learning in honour of Maedoc, till he be proficient in study and good learning; for no son of king or chief, of land-owner  175a or hospitaller, from the time that he enters on his landed inheritance, ought to be without a foster-child from Maedoc. Moreover, the king of Úi Briuin is bound to give in marriage the daughter of the coarb of Maedoc, and to provide her with stock and dowry. He must welcome the coarb of Maedoc whenever he sees him, and the kings of Breifne must contribute like every landowner to the upkeep of Maedoc's church 181 or temple in every place where one exists.


    The horse and robes of the king of Breifne on his coronation day to be given to the family of Maedoc, or else ten horses or twenty kine. Maedoc's variegated (crozier) to be carried round the king, to pledge him thereby to do right between man and man, whether weak or powerful. It is to be carried, moreover, in front of the men of Breifne, in every battle and every contest, and is to go round them  p.197 right-handwise, and they shall return safe. A covering of silk or 182 a gold noble for the variegated (crozier), to protect it when necessary (to be given) by sons of kings and chiefs. The king himself to go on the morrow of his coronation to Drumlane or Rossinver with an offering, and (then) he need not fear sickness or disease until the last sickness. He shall have length of life here, and the kingdom of God in the other world finally, in return for performing all the things that we have said. And further it rests upon the king himself to exact the tribute and dues of Maedoc from small and great 183 throughout his land and lordship.


    The tales and miracles of Maedoc are to be narrated and made known to each one of the nobles by the family of Maedoc. Unless they (the family of M.) receive the tribute, they are to fast thrice on the Úi Briuin; the first fast at Drumlane in the great church; the second at Lee na Nemand, where Maedoc himself used to perform vigil and genuflexion with long prayer; the third at Rossinver, for it is there that God and Maedoc most hear the prayers of each one of his family; and the Brec (the variegated crozier) to be turned widdershins against them afterwards. Short life and hell is the inevitable lot of every one who earns the curse; and the same disability rests on the family of Maedoc, unless they demand this tribute every year.  175b If coarbs and erenaghs of Maedoc be made duly by the men of Breifne, without earning the curse, then, though all the saints of Erin were a-cursing them, they need have no fear.


    This is the manner of the crowning of the king of Breifne: -- twelve coarbs of Maedoc to go round him in procession, to wit, O'Farrelly, O'Fergus, O'Shallow, O'Connaghty, Magauran, O'Duffey, O'Duigenan, O'Cassidy 184; the coarbs of Caillin, of Presbyter Fraech, and of Bishop Finnchu (read: Finnchad); and these  185 are to march round him. This assembly should jointly do honour to O'Duffey and his successor after him, for he is Maedoc's fosterer, and let O'Duffey give the wand (of office) to the king of Breifne in honour of Maedoc. And this wand must be cut from the hazel of Maedoc in Sescenn Uairbeoil in Leinster, which place is (now) called Disert Maedoc (Maedoc's hermitage).


    The king should give his horse and robes to the family of Maedoc, or else the commutation which we mentioned just now. A third of this equipment  186 to go to O'Duffey in honour of his nurture and fosterage of Maedoc, or to his successor, and the other two-thirds to this assembly that we have mentioned. He is no (lawful) king or chief who is not ordained on this wise.


    And it was to record and show all the things we have mentioned that this lay was made:

  • The tribute of Maedoc without aberration
    On the race of Fergna after him
    Till doom, to secure their blessing,
    Did Aed Dub bind clearly.
  • Aed Dub the hideous begged
    Of Maedoc, it was great intelligence,
    In order to save him from despair,
    Pre-eminence of form above all men.
  • Maedoc of the numerous company gave
    To him his choice of any form in the world,
    (The gift was not defective)
    And heaven at last without misfortune. 187
  • This was the choice which he made,
    Aed, in preference to the fashion of any (other) man,
    The form of the fair shapely man
    Named Aedan son of Eicnech.
  • Aed óc brought without disobedience
    Sleep on the king right heavily;
    Never was found a comelier form (than his),
    When Aed (Dub) arose from the cowl.
  • At that time was he named
    By Maedoc without defect of speech;

    So that instead of Aed Dub was established
    Aed Finn as a change of name (for him).
  •  49
  • Aed Finn, the truly beautiful,
    Is baptized at Ath Airm by another Aed,
    Son of great Fergna, gentle and steadfast,
    Whom no saint had previously baptized.
  • The baptism-fee of this man of Breifne,
    (It was a fee without regret,)
    A scruple (imposed) on every hearth,
    Maedoc received from this Aed Finn,
  • From lovely 188 Kells
    And from Drogheda on the one hand,
    To the fair blue-streamed Drowes
    And to famous Cnoc Laegain. 189
  •  p.199
  • The robes of every doughty king
    And of every vigorous chief,
    The first draught of every horn in banquets,
    A beast from every estate,
  • The confirmation of this is due from them;
    An ox from every one of their raids,
    Another ox by appointment
    At the feast of Maedoc without fail.
  • An offering from every single smith
    In the borders of Breifne of the soft plains,
    A charge of iron of due weight,
    Circuit dues at Easter and Christmas.
  • From Maedoc the slender of the long fasts
    The children of bold Fergna are bound,
    Whether king or royal chief,
    To receive habitually a foster-child.
  • This foster-child claims from them
    Food and clothing and learning;
    It is Maedoc, he is this foster-child,
    Who will 190 help them in time 191 of trouble.
  • The female children of O'Farrelly
    And of prosperous O'Fergusa
    For the honour of the chief churches
    They are bound to espouse to husbands.
  •  51
  • Twelve of their good men
    Acting in aid of one another,
    It is the hereditary right of these men
    To go to crown the king of Breifne.
  • O'Fergusa, O'Farrelly,
    O'Duigenan, O'Duffey,
    O'Shallow the psalmist,
    And worthy O'Connaghty;
    Friendly O'Cassidy,
    The clerk of the learning of Luchar;
  •  176b
  • Famous O'Rodachan,
    O'Trevor who never deserved 192 a firebrand (?)
    Magettigen 193 the combative,
    Maguibne and Magauran.
  •  p.200
  • No one of the men of Breifne till doom
    Is either valid king or chief
    Until this band of clerics
    Are all ordaining him together.
  •  52
  • They ought after their ordination,
    The seed of Fergna of the smooth hard spears,
    To have the famous wonder-working 'Brec'
    Carried thrice round them.
  • For this 'Brec' it was appointed
    That it should be put in a contract speedily,
    That they (the seed of Fergna) no wrong or injustice
    Would do to any one.
  • Victory of battle is to be reckoned
    To the kings of the race of Fergna;
    It is one of the virtues of this Brec
    To be placed in the van of every contest.
  • To the blood of Fergna it is a cause of diminution
    Not to be at the gentle 194 will of Maedoc,
    Not to fulfil his tribute,
    And not to go under the soil of the righteous man (i.e. not to be buried in his cemetery).
  • Every evil and every distress
    Which ever came or shall come 195
    To the descendants of Fergna in particular,
    It is the displeasure of Maedoc which causes it.
  • The seed of Fergna without great belief
    Ought to pay it continually with exactness;
    To Maedoc of the great learning
    They are all under the same tribute.
  •  xx

    After binding and establishing his tribute and due honour on Aed Finn son of Fergna, and his race and posterity after him, in return for his baptism and regular consecration at Ath Airm, as we stated previously, Maedoc proceeded to Drumlane at the suggestion and request of the high king, Aed Finn, and also by the counsel and joint exhortation of the kings and royal chiefs of Úi Briuin and of the people generally, both high and low, laic and cleric.


    He founded and duly blessed this place afterwards, as had been foreshadowed and prophesied since the time of Patrick the chief apostle, when he foretold the wonder-working Maedoc, thirty years  p.201 before his birth and famous conception, when Patrick baptized and blessed the place before the coming of the patron saint,  177a the high apostle leaving it in reserve for him without occupying it (himself). So that Patrick was the chief sage who gave the place the name of Druim Lethan, because it was beside the water (leth fri han); for its original name was Druim Leith.


    So then Maedoc in fulfilment of the prophecy of the cleric came to Drumlane, as we mentioned above, in the maturity of his age and days, having increased his mighty works and high miracles, and become famous for devotion and good morals, for wisdom and varied powers, for charity and good works; and he blessed and permanently established the place, arranged its ramparts and fair cemeteries, measured and marked out its temple and fair churches, fashioned and fairly constructed the caps and columns (?) of its round towers, with stone and timber and implements, visited its houses and buildings, ordered its seniors and congregations, ordained and set in honour its clerics and mass-priests, its work-people and servitors, its students and men of learning, to sow belief and devotion, to chant psalms and psalters, to celebrate the divine canonical hours, to give refection to guests and destitute, (travelling) companies, and strangers, to the weak and feeble, and to all others who were in need, both in state and church.


    He bequeathed to the place grace of clergy and coarbs, grace of prosperity and abundance, grace of welcome and entertainment for ever, according to the proverb: the welcome of Erin is Drumlane. And he was some time at Drumlane on this wise, attending to it and serving it, till it came into his mind to leave Ireland secretly, to avoid and shun the honour and high reverence which all entertained for him.


    Now Aed Finn son of Fergna, the king of Breifne, heard that Maedoc was departing from Úi Briuin, and when he heard it, he set about preventing it, for he deemed it no honour or pleasure that the author (lit. father) of his baptism and blessing, who had given him so strikingly his choice of form and feature, should depart from him, for he disliked that his abode and dwelling should not be in his own land and country. Then Maedoc said to him  177b: “Let me go,” said he, “without delay or pursuit on thy part, and thou shall receive of the Lord in recompense therefor fellowship and rest in the house of heaven.” But Aed Finn would not of his free will consent to let him go. However, in spite of his prohibition and power, the Trinity guided Maedoc in all secrecy to the territory of Leinster, and thence to Britain 196 to a holy bishop who was there, viz. David of Menevia; and he was there with him for a long time.


    One day when Maedoc was reading out-of-doors near the  p.202 monastery, the prior of David's monastery came to him in great wrath, and said to him: “Be off,” scoundrel, said he, “after the brethren to the forest”; the brethren at the end of the preceding night had set out to fetch firewood. Now Maedoc did not know this, for, had he known, he would have gone after them without any bidding. But the prior hated Maedoc intensely without ground or reason. Moreover in his hurry to overtake the others Maedoc left his book open.


    The man brought two wild unbroken oxen to him, and bade him put them in the cart, and go to the forest to fetch firewood. Out of malice towards Maedoc the prior did all this. But as soon as Maedoc took hold of the oxen, they became tame and perfectly gentle at the bidding of the high saint; and he then harnessed them to the cart, and went after the brethren with only one little lad with him.


    Now there was on the way a large spongy and uneven bog, forming a short cut, while the way round was long. The lad said to Maedoc 197: “It would be a great saving to us, if we could go across the bog, for then we should reach the brethren in a short space.” Maedoc said to the lad thereupon: “Make the sign of the Holy Spirit and of the Cross of suffering on thine eyes and heart, and thou shalt speedily see  178a before thee the power of Christ.” Maedoc then turned the oxen and cart towards the bog; God made a smooth and easy road, and a firm and level path through the soft and yielding surface of the bog for Maedoc and his oxen. This road still remains, to preserve the memory of these great miracles of Maedoc, and ever since it has been of great use and profit to both men and oxen. Afterwards they arrived where the brethren were, giving glory and thanks to God. 198


    Everything, however, that the prior had done out of ill-will to Maedoc was revealed by God to David, and He also revealed to him how the prior had caused Maedoc to leave his book open out by the wall. There came a storm and a heavy downpour just then, and David saw Maedoc's book lying open; but though he saw it, he left it as it was. However, later on he remembered about its being open, and went to save it; and he found it dry and strongly bound, without injury to a line or letter, and without a drop of water or rain having touched it.


    When David saw that great miracle, he left the book as it was, and went himself to the sea-shore where the disciples were, for Menevia is close to the sea. He went up to Maedoc, and said to him: “Why,” said he, “when thou wert setting out this morning with the oxen to join the others in the forest, didst thou leave thy book open exposed to the shower and the storm?” When Maedoc perceived this, he fell on his knees to the ground humbly and reverently for  p.203 shame at having left his book open; and he said that it was his hurry  199 in going after them to fetch firewood which had caused him so to leave it 200.


    David did not bid him rise, but went after the brethren; and he and they entered the house side by side. The lad afterwards told them all that had befallen them when they set out for the forest, and how they had found a level dry road in the bog  178b through the miracles of Maedoc. David asked where Maedoc was. They all agreed in saying that they had not seen him since he lay on the shore before David, after hearing about his book. Some of the chief clerks were sent to the sea-shore to fetch him, and brought him with them thence. A marvellously high tide had risen in walls and great mountains 201 on each side of him round about, with the exception of the actual spot on which he lay, and had not hurt him in the least. Bishop David moreover related all the miracles which God had done through Maedoc, and rebuked and reprimanded the prior repeatedly for his bad conduct towards Maedoc. And the name of God, &c.


    Another day the same man, the prior, determined to kill Maedoc out of envy and jealousy. He sent him to the forest with a lay servant 202 to cut firewood. The prior bade the man kill Maedoc, and promised him a reward for it. After they had entered the forest Maedoc stooped down to pick up a stick. The man raised his hands to the axe in order to smite Maedoc. By the power of the Lord it came about that the hands of the man clave to the axe, so that he could not move them or ply them as usual 203. The man then promptly confessed his guilt, and came to seek forgiveness of Maedoc, the servant of God, with great earnestness.


    When Maedoc saw this, he prayed fervently to God; and through this prayer it came about that the hands of the man were freed from the bond and chain in which they were held. The man went home apace, and told the matter to every one whom he met. When the story had been made known to David, he got up on the side of his bed, and put one shoe on, and went in haste towards the forest to meet Maedoc. When the brethren saw him going with one foot bare, they promptly followed  179a their master. Maedoc came to meet him to a stream which was near the place. David seeing him said to his disciples: “Depart now,”  204 said he; for he had seen a host of angels encircling Maedoc at that spot.


    When Maedoc saw David waiting for him, he ran hastily to him, and did obeisance. There is a cross at the place in witness of their mutual covenant and union. They both offered thanks and  p.204 earnest prayer to the God of the elements, and went home side by side. David reproved the prior severely on this occasion in presence of them all. Maedoc said: “Dear master, do not rebuke him; for God will rebuke him sufficiently; for he shall die very suddenly by a strange death, and no one on earth will know where he is buried, but the God of the elements only.” There befell the man as Maedoc foretold a sudden and horrible death, and no one knew of his decease, nor of his burial. And the name, &c.


    Another day Maedoc was sent to fetch a vessel of ale to the monastery; and as he was going close to an ever-deep and dreadful valley which lay on his way, the cart in which the vessel was and the oxen fell down at the edge of a hideous precipice 205 Maedoc made the sign of the Cross of suffering between them and the precipice. After the saint had raised his hand on high the oxen suffered no hurt, the cart was not broken, and no drop of the ale was spilt. And the name, &c.


    The king of the Britons had a son who was blind, deaf, and lame. When his friends and fosterers heard of these great  179b miracles done by Maedoc, they sent the boy to him, and entreated him to heal him. He was also greatly entreated by his master David. Maedoc then made earnest prayer to God, and the young boy was speedily healed of his blemishes after this. The friends of the child gave great thanks to God and to Maedoc therefor; and the name of God and of Maedoc was magnified through the miracles done on the son of the king of Britain.


    There was another man in Britain whose face was all as flat as a 206 board, without eyes or nose, and he had been born so. He was taken to Maedoc to be healed. After Maedoc had entreated God on his behalf, he was healed forthwith, and his eyes and nose came in their proper place finally. And the name, &c.


    Another time the Saxons invaded Britain with a great innumerable army. The Britons assembled to oppose them, and sent messengers to David to ask him to send Maedoc to them, to bless their army, and consecrate their battalion. Maedoc went at David's bidding where the Britons were, they and the Saxons confronting one another. The Britons were no match for the Saxons in numbers. Maedoc prayed on behalf of the Britons, and the Saxons thereupon fled, and the Britons pursued them, and for the seven days of the week they were slaughtering and butchering them; and not one man of the Britons fell by the hands of the Saxons all that time through the favour of God and the miracles of Maedoc. And no Saxon  p.205 invaded Britain while Maedoc was there after the manifestation of these miracles. And the name, &c.


     180a There was another man in Britain, and he took in hand to deceive Maedoc, for he bade his attendants to carry him to Maedoc, and say that he was blind and deaf. Maedoc recognizing his deceit, said to him: “Thy kingdom and authority were in thine own hand,” said he, till thou didst determine to conceal the gifts which God had given thee. And as thou hast done this deceit thou shalt be as they said till the day of thy death. And this was fulfilled. 207 The name, &c. Many then are the miracles and mighty works which God did in Britain in honour of Maedoc, which are not enumerated here to avoid tediousness. And therefore the author omitted to relate them.


    After all the miracles that Maedoc had done in Britain, he took leave of his master, David of Menevia, and began his return journey to Ireland together with his disciples. As he drew near to the Irish coast, he saw robbers on one side of a road, robbing and killing pilgrims and feeble folk, who were travelling from place to place. Maedoc said to his company: “Let us hasten to the pilgrims,” said he. Then he straightway rang his bell, and the chief of the brigands heard it. “Tis the sound of the bell of a devout and godly man,” said he, and he rings his bell to bid us cease this work. They let the pilgrims be after this.


    The man who was their chief was a wealthy and very powerful man, with great riches and property at his command, to wit Dima son of Finntan, &c. 208 As Maedoc was drawing near them, Dima sent  180b one of his followers to meet him. This man carried Maedoc from the ship on his back, and conducted him to his lord. And he repented earnestly afterwards, and offered land to God and Maedoc in perpetuity. And this land is in that southern part of Ireland which is called Úi Cennselaig, and he built a church there, that is Ard Ladrann, and the man we have mentioned, viz. Dima, commended himself with his race and fair landed estate to God and to Maedoc.


    One day after this when Maedoc was by the sea, and his brethren with him, he said to them: “I am sorry that I did not ask my master, David, who should be my father confessor in Ireland.” His disciples began to get ready a ship for him, and to set out on this errand. However they were greatly terrified at the sea. Maedoc went towards the sea, and was minded to go without a ship to Britain to the master with whom he had been.


    An angel came to him and said: “Presumptuous is thy deed.” “Not out of presumption was I minded to do it,” said Maedoc, “but through the power of God.” The angel said: “Thou needest not to seek any other father confessor, but the God of the elements, for He understands the thoughts and secrets of every man. However, if it be thy wish to have testimony to thy confession and conscience, let Molua mac Oiche be thy father confessor.” Maedoc turned back and went to the land called Úi Cennselaig, in the district named Ard Ladrann, and as he sat in the place called Achel, he remembered a bell which he had forgotten in Britain. And when it was time for him to ring it, he saw it beside him. Maedoc gave  181a great thanks and praise to God therefor.


    One day when Maedoc was on the shore of the sea which divides the men of Munster and Leinster, that is the Úi Cennselaig and the Desi, he was minded to go along the shore towards the Desi, and he and his disciples were on horseback. There was an arm of the sea in front of them on which ships and laden boats plied. His company were minded to alight from their horses, for they did not think that they could proceed without a boat at this point. Maedoc said: “Let the horses go forward by themselves,” said he, “for God could cause the sea to ebb and dry up for us.” They did so, setting their hope firmly on God; and the horses went on to the sea with its mighty waves without wetting their hoofs, as if it had been dry land or any other level road. And by this short cut they came to the Desi.


    Maedoc built a church in the place called Disert nDairbre (Oakwood Hermitage), and was there some time with his disciples. The brothers had two cows and a calf there. Maedoc 209 was one day alone there indoors in his cell. He saw some wolves coming to him, and they went round him gently and fawningly. Maedoc understood that they were asking for food. He was moved to compassion for them; he gave the calf to them, and bade them eat it. When then the woman came in the afternoon, 210 she looked for the calf to let it in to them. Maedoc said to her: “Do not look for it, for I have given it to the wolves.”


    One of the brothers said: “How can the cows be milked without their calf?” Maedoc said to the brother: “Bend thy head towards me,” said he, “that I may bless it; for when the cows see it, they will give their milk humbly and obediently.” And so it was that whenever the cows saw the head of the brother, they would suddenly lick it, and so give their milk.  181b Often did Maedoc do these miracles; whenever a calf was killed, he would bless the head of the  p.207 man who went to milk the cows, and they would give their milk when they saw him.


    And it was to set forth this that a poet said thus:

  • The errand of Maedoc in the land of Britain,
    An errand for which men still celebrate him,
    His faith is henceforth under seal 211;
    It is fitting to spread abroad the stories of him.
  • Among all the patron saints,
    Maedoc was a man approved;
    Of the two swift untamed (lit. simple) oxen
    He made oxen tame and gentle.
  • Open to the dropping shower
    (Was) the book of crimeless Maedoc;
    The deluge did not do it
    Damage of line or letter.
  • Where none ever found a road before,
    (A place) which was a stumbling block to every one else,
    Through the red yielding bog
    He made a level path.
  •  80
  • The two hands and the axe of the lay brother
    Were bound together (and warded off) from him;
    He could not move his limbs at all,
    Till the abstemious saint helped him.
  • The death of the sinful prior,
    (Was) as the clerk permitted,
    Owing to his frequent wrath against Maedoc;
    No one knew of his death.
  •  81
  • The oxen and the cart of beer
    At the dark deep precipice
    All fell down together;
    Woe to him who follows that path 212;
    To their Lord he made (the sign of) the Cross,
    And the Lord helped them.
  •  82
  • The son of the king of Britain without foolish talk
    Maedoc of the monks helped;
    (He had) three blemishes which could not be concealed,
    He was blind, deaf, and lame.
  •  p.208
  • Another blemished man in the same country,
    (Brief was the period till he escaped 213,)
    Maedoc made no delay in helping him,
    His face was all like a board.
  •  84
  • The troops of the Britons without displeasure
    Through the prayer of the pure true saint
    Wrought slaughter on every field
    On the host of the Saxons for a week.
  •  85
  • A man said as a deceitful trick,
    (He was not then the better therefor,)
    That he was deaf and blind; though it was hard,
    He remained so for ever.
  •  86
  • When he returned to Ireland,
    The saint with intense and earnest prayer

    The death of all the helpless pilgrims
    Hindered in a single hour.
  •  87
  • His bell he forgot finally
    In famous fair-hilled 214 Britain;
    When the time for ringing it came,
    He saw it before him at a little distance.
  •  88
  • Through the stormy sea in safety
    A dry road appeared
    For Maedoc with his great prudence,
    After the example of Moses the son of Amra.
  •  89
  • The head of the brother he blessed
    In the cook's time of milking;
    The cows licked him like a calf,
    When they came; it was no woman's errand.
  •  xxxii

    Another day Maedoc was grinding wheat in the mill, the brothers being all engaged on other business. An Ossory man came in, and took some of the meal from him by force. The same man came again afterwards, having changed his look and appearance by deliberately closing one of his eyes, and asked for some of the meal as a gift. Maedoc looked at him, and asked him what made him like that, though he knew very well. And he added: “Thou shalt have some meal to take with thee; nevertheless thou shall be permanently blind of one eye, and thy seed after thee shall never be without some one-eyed man among them.” And this was fulfilled.


    Many churches and monasteries were built by Maedoc on this  p.209 occasion in Úi Cennselaig, and he himself was in one of the monasteries called Cluain Mor Dicholla (the great meadow of Dicholla), Dicholla himself being regular abbot in the place under the care of Maedoc; and it was from him that the spot subsequently took its name.


    Aed son of Ainmire, king of Ireland, assembled a great army to harry and raid Úi Cennselaig. Now Brandub son of Eochaid, son of Muiredach, was king over Úi Cennselaig, and he it was that was opposing Aed the king of Ireland. A great number therefore of the men of the country collected their flocks and chattels under the protection of God and the safeguard of Maedoc to the place where he was, viz. Cluain Mor Dicholla. When the king heard of the great quantity of property and  182b cattle gathered together in one spot, he went to raid the place.


    Maedoc set out to meet the army, and made the sign of the holy Cross with the point of his bachall against them. One of the army who happened to be in the very front, said as he was passing the mark: “There is no one so holy as to stop me,” said he, “from passing the mark.” And when he had thus said, he fell dead and lifeless in the presence of them all. Great fear seized all of them at once at this deed, and they turned back to the king. The king turned back from the church, saying: “We cannot fight against the saints, and the three Persons of the Trinity, and Maedoc with his miracles.” And the name, &c.


    On another occasion when Maedoc came to the monastery named Shanbo, at the foot of the hill called Mount Leinster, as he was going along the road, a bitch wolf happened to meet him, wretched, weak, and starving. It came to him gently and fawningly. Maedoc asked a lad who had joined him on the road, whether he had anything which he could give the wolf. The lad said that he had one loaf and a piece of fish. Maedoc took this from him, and threw it to the wolf. The boy flushed and flamed at seeing this, and said that he was afraid of his master, for he was not of Maedoc's following, but had chanced upon him by the way. Maedoc said: “Bring me some of the leaves of the wood,” said he. And he did so. Maedoc blessed the foliage thereupon, and it was turned into a loaf and fish; and he gave it to the lad afterwards. And the name, &c.


    On another occasion when the above-mentioned king, Brandub son of Eochaid, had taken possession  183a of the kingdom of Leinster, and was driving great preys before him which he had taken 215 from the northern part of Ireland, there chanced to meet him  p.210 a leper of the family of Maedoc, who asked an alms of him in honour of God and Maedoc. The king gave him a dun hornless ox as an alms. After this the king came to his own land, and encamped on the river called Slaney. That night he was attacked by a most severe illness, and saw a strange vision. (It seemed) as if he were being carried to hell, and as if all the monsters of hell were attacking him with open mouths. And he further fancied that he saw a huge monster in front of hell, which was the greatest of them all, and the one which was most ravenous towards him. And it seemed to him that it was ready to swallow him.


    It drew the king towards it with its breath, and almost swallowed him at a single gulp, when a handsome shapely clerk came swiftly towards it, and put a dun hornless ox in the mouth of the monster, just like the ox which the king had previously given to the leper, and thus freed the king from the yawning mouth of the monster. The monster drew him towards it again, and wanted to swallow him as before. The same clerk came to him again, and smote his bachall on the huge head of the monster, and it very promptly shut its mouth; so the king was freed from the danger of the monster and of hell at one and the same time.


    The spirit of the king returned to his body, and he arose afterwards, and told his attendants all that he had seen. The king was subsequently carried to the place called Inber Crimthainn, being still in the same sickness as before. His friends said to him: “There is a holy man in this country named Maedoc,” said they. “Mighty works and miracles are done by him on the spot. Do thou send messengers to him, to bring thee holy water from him.” The king said: “Not so; but I myself will go to the place where he is.”


    The king mounted his chariot,  183b and came where Maedoc was. When Maedoc heard that the king was coming, he went to meet him. However, when the king saw Maedoc at a distance, he said: “Yonder is the cleric who freed me from the mouth of the monster, and from the pain of hell as well, for I recognize from here his form and fair appearance.” The king then prostrated himself at Maedoc's feet and said: “I repent of my sin,” said he, “for I have done much evil and wrong up to this time; and whats ever thou shalt say to me for the good of my soul, I will do to the best of my ability.” The king was thereupon healed of all remaining sickness on Maedoc praying on his behalf. The king said: “Thou hast healed me of my sickness,” said he, “and separated me from the pains of hell.” And he then told Maedoc everything he had seen in the before-mentioned vision.


    The king then said: “I give myself with my race and descendants 216 in perpetuity to God and to thee; and I ordain my burial and  p.211 that of my seed and descendants in thy cemetery at Ferns. ” The king gave many offerings and extensive lands to Maedoc, on which he built a fair and venerable church, Ferna Mór Maedoc. On the Leinster hill of meeting and assembly, clergy and laity (being present), the king Brandub ordained that the high bishopric of the whole province of Leinster should be in the catholic church of Maedoc, and that Maedoc himself should be high bishop there, having been ordained and honoured in Rome previously by God's vicegerent on earth, as we mentioned previously, when he received the Brec of Maedoc and the staff of Brandub, that is Brandub the son of Eochaid, whom he caused to be healed by this staff through the power of God.


    Now when Maedoc was building the monastery of Ferns, his disciples complained to him that there was no water near them in the place. There was then a great tree in the place. Maedoc said to his disciples:  184a “Cut down yon tree 217 to the root, said he, and there will spring forth a gleaming fount, and a thin bright stream of green blue-edged water from it.” The tree was cut down then, and on its being cut down there thereupon sprang forth after it a lovely fount and pool called the spring of Maedoc. The women and lesser folk used to go and wash their clothes and cleanse their garments in the stream that flowed from the fount.


    There was a man of great substance on this land, named Becc son of Eogan, and his ancestral house was near the cell and fair church, for his land extended to this stream. And the women of the place used to come and wash their clothes in it, as we already said. Maedoc disliked this, and said to them: Depart forthwith, and come not so near to the church or to us, said he. One of the women said that they would not go: for the water and the land both belong to us, said they.


    Afterwards a fair and comely daughter of Becc son of Eogan was washing clothes with her feet on the stones. Her feet clave to the clothes, and the clothes to the stones, and the stones to the earth; and thus she stood there like a statue or any human image, without motion or movement, and did not dare to stir to one side or the other. 218 When the woman's father, Becc son of Eogan, heard this, he came in haste to Maedoc, and entreated him humbly to release his daughter. On Maedoc praying for her she was loosed forthwith from the bond which held her. And the man, Becc son of Eogan, gave himself, and the place, and his family in perpetuity to God and to Maedoc.


    After this a herdsman who lived near Maedoc's  p.212 monastery came to him, and told him 219 that his mother had an acute illness, and asked for holy water for her. Maedoc himself set out to go to the woman, but the herdsman got there before him,  184b and on his arrival found his mother dead and lifeless. He went out again to meet Maedoc, and said to him: O true servant of God, and slave of the mighty Lord, trouble not thyself, for my mother has just died (lit. died on the spot). Maedoc said to him: “Go,” said he, to thy mother, “and tell her to come here to me to be healed.” The herdsman returned, and said to his mother: “Come quickly, for Maedoc of the mighty works is asking for thee.” The woman then arose at Maedoc's command as if she had been asleep, and came to meet him perfectly well. And the name, &c.


    On one occasion Maedoc went to Taghmon where was the holy abbot, Munnu son of Tulcan, and he was honourably entertained there. Munnu son of Tulcan said to the company who were attending him: “Go to Maedoc,” said he, “and tell him to send all the brethren and others who are in the place to my house and abode, to eat and drink together in his honour to-night,” said he. Maedoc said that they would all eat together that night. Munnu said to the messenger: “Tell Maedoc that they cannot all eat, for many of them are sick.” Maedoc said when he heard that: “With subtlety has the abbot asked health for the brethren; however God could give them health in my honour,” said he. And when Maedoc had said this, all those of them that had been sick came with joy to the refectory, including some who had been barely alive previously; and they came to eat their supper on this occasion like the rest.


     185aAt the end of the third day, as Maedoc was leaving the place, Munnu said: “Thou shalt not go hence,” said he, “till the brethren are in the same sickness in which they were before.” Maedoc said: God granted it to me to confer health upon them, said he. Munnu said: “Not thus shall it be, said he, for virtues are perfected in the weak.” However, on the permission of Maedoc at Munnu's bidding, the same company of the brethren returned to their former sicknesses. Maedoc then departed after taking leave and bidding farewell to Munnu; and went to his own place, leaving and taking blessing.


    And it was to explain all these things that this lay was made220:

  • One day when Maedoc was in the mill,
    To which he had taken wheat to be strongly ground,
    There came a layman to him,
    Who took meal from him by force.
  •  p.213
  • For meal again in a different guise,
    ('Twas no deed of valour or bravery,)
    After closing one of his eyes,
    He asked as a present,
  • For the sake of saints and holy virgins.
    There shall be, said Maedoc the innocent,
    For ever by the will of the Creator
    One of thine eyes without sight.
  •  107
  • Against the king of Ireland in his violence,
    Though it was a great work for any single man,
    All the property of Leinster for the most part
    He protected from war.
  •  108
  • As for the starving wolf,
    After helping it on its road,  221
    He made from the leafage of the forest
    Fish and bread together.
  •  109
  • Brandub the son of Eochaid the ungentle, 222
    The high king, was sick;
    He did not find any one to heal him,
    Till the fair-skinned cleric helped him.
  • The king of Leinster, it was no secret case,
    The stern son of Eithne helped him;
    He brought the king back again
    From the pains of dreadful hell.
  •  110
  • At the beginning of the effort no water
    Was found at Ferns,

    Till there burst forth from the root of the tree
    A fount clearer than crystal.
  • Beautiful spring of Maedoc
    Is the usual name of the brook,
    Above every (other) pure water
    The stream of the fountain will never ebb.
  •  111
  • From the place of Becc son of Eogan
    Would come women of the trumpet song (?)
    To wash their foul clothes
    In the stream of the clear-waved fount.
  •  p.214
  • Maedoc the modest tried to stop
    The bold fair-hued women;
    No one of them accepted (this) from the good man,
    They had cause at last to repent it.
  • There came a daughter of the prudent man,
    Becc son of Eogan the well disposed,
    To the blue clear-bright spring,
    To wash her garments in it.
  • The stones of the stream on which she trod,
    (No woman ever had such a prison,)
    The clothes, and the innocent soil
    Were binding her feet.
  • The possession of the melodious place
    Becc the son of fair Eogan gave up
    To Maedoc in full possession
    In return for the succour of his daughter.
  •  112
  • He brought her from death to life,
    (God allowed it as a (deed of) power,)
    It was one of the mighty works of the pitiful righteous man,
    The helping of the herdsman's mother.
  •  113
  • The sick folk without exception,
    On them sorrow was not laid;
    He healed them all without concealment,
    The congregation of Munnu's monks.
  • Activity was his (lit. on him) beyond all men,
    For the assistance of guests no time was (to him) unseasonable;
    In respect of a boon asked by any one
    Aed did not ask for another day.
    One day.
  •  xl

    Another time Maedoc went to visit some holy virgins of distinguished chastity, who were daughters of Aed son of Cairbre; and he took with him as an alms for them a plough-team of oxen. As the ploughmen were yoking the team, a poor woman, leprous, weak, and grievously sick, came to Maedoc and asked of him one of the oxen as an alms. He gave it to her. The ploughmen said: “How shall we  186a plough now?” said they, “for we lack one of the proper number of the team.” Maedoc said: “Wait a while,” said he, “and God will give you an ox in the place of yonder one.” They saw after this an ox coming towards them from the sea. It came to the team, and put its head obediently under the yoke in the place where the above-mentioned ox had been. It remained  p.215 in the team on this wise all the spring ploughing for the virgins, and would go each night to the sea. And it would utter three bellowing roars, and would come again every morning to the team, till the season of ploughing was over. And when this was generally heard, the name, &c.


    Another time Maedoc was in the place called Ard Ladrann, and saw a team of oxen ploughing close to Ferns, his own monastery, and there was a distance of nearly a hundred miles between the two places. However Maedoc saw them by the favour of the Holy Spirit. Now as the team was turning from one furrow to another, it happened that just then the ploughman slipped to the ground between the share and the coulter, the team straining in full career. Maedoc lifted up his hand on seeing this, and blessed the ploughman from where he was, and the oxen afterwards, though he was far from them. The team stopped still in mid career, and did not hurt the ploughman, who escaped whole from this danger. So the name, &c.


    On another occasion his master, Bishop David, sent a message for Maedoc to go on a visit to him with all speed before his death. Maedoc then went obediently at the summons of his tutor to Britain, and was a long time with him there. One day Maedoc said to Bishop David: “O lord, and master dear,”  186bsaid he, “I promised to certain people on my word and conscience that I would be with them in Ireland to-day.” “Thou shalt surely be in Ireland to-day,” said Bishop David. Maedoc asked him how that might be. “Thy company shall follow thee in a ship,” said Bishop David, “and thou thyself shalt go before them, as I shall tell thee. Go to the sea, and whatever animal shall meet thee on the strand, mount upon it, and it will bear thee speedily to Ireland.”


    Maedoc set out after bidding farewell to Bishop David and receiving his blessing, and after binding a covenant and chief-friendship with him, and between their successors after them in their respective places for ever. Maedoc then went to the sea-shore, and found a huge wild animal coming to meet and receive him there. And he mounted on its back with firm and confident faith. The animal carried him thence to the port called Inber Crimthainn. There it left him after taking leave of him in its own brute fashion (lit. according to its own intelligence); and Maedoc went to his own place, as he had promised his confidants and friends; and his company 223 and escort came after him, without trouble or death or drowning, through the power of God and Maedoc.


    On another occasion, after the example of Moses the son  p.216 of Amra, and Elijah the prophet, and Patrick the son of Calpurn, and further, after the example of the King of heaven and holy earth, Jesus Christ, Maedoc was in fasting and abstinence for the forty days and nights of Lent in his own monastery, Ferns, without tasting earthly food or drink all that time. And after that fast and abstinence it seemed to his family and to every one else that he was stouter and stronger, and better in form and feature than ever before.


    Maedoc obtained four boons from God after finishing  187a his fasting at that time. The first boon, that whoever of the seed of Brandub, son of Eochaid, or of the seed of Aed Finn, son of Fergna, &c., who should take up his quarters in his monasteries or in his church, and should die there, should not enter the kingdom of heaven for ever and ever. The second boon, that any one of his monks or family who should desert or flee from him, should in like manner not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The third boon, that hell should not be closed upon any one who should be buried in any one of his churches to the end of the world. The fourth boon, that he should rescue from hell a soul of the seed of Aed Finn, and one of the seed of Brandub son of Eochaid every day to the end of the world.


    So that it was to witness to this particularly that a poet sang these words:

  • A mighty work of note I will relate besides
    Now, after that we have reckoned it,
    In regard to Maedoc the marvellous;
    It is not easy to reckon them,
    The mighty works of marvellous Maedoc.
  • An ox in the time of ploughing
    From his team requested
    A poor woman of him as a boon
    In honour of Christ the mighty,
    And he gave her the good ox.
  • God granted after the bestowal of it
    That a strong ox should come
    To perform his good labour
    From the sea each day
    In place of the ox given in alms.
  •  120b
  • From distant Ard Ladrann
    To great Ferns of the companies,
    Though the journey be very far,
    He saw, as ye have heard,
    (The sight was one of Jesus mighty deeds,)
    The dread danger of the ploughman.
  •  p.217
  • The share and the long coulter,
    The ploughman fell between them
    When the team had started;
    And the patron-saint helped
    The ploughman out of this necessity.
  •  121
  • It belongs to the mighty deeds of the just one
    That he went as in a boat on an animal
    Which no one had (ever) known,
    From Menevia in Great Britain
    To the strand of green-meadowed Ireland
    In a single day without transport;
    So that the promise which he had made
    The clerk fulfilled.
  •  122
  • After the example of angelic Jesus,
    And of prophetic Elijah,

    And of Moses the great son of Amra,
    And of Patrick the chief apostle,
  • Maedoc of the mighty deeds was
    For the full forty days of Lent
    In fasting and abstinence
    Without touching a morsel in all the vast world
    For all that length of time.
  • It seemed, as they gazed on him,
    That his fair form was not the worse
    For being without food or sustenance
    During that long time.
  • A boon did the compassionate righteous man
    Fourfold request
    Of the mighty Lord
    At the end of his good fasting.
  • Any one of the noble seed of Brandub
    The son of lofty Eochaid of the many victories,
    Or of Aed Finn the beautiful,
    Who should remain in occupation
    Of his consecrated monastery,
    And should die in it,
    Hell with its many pains
    To be prepared 224 for him.
  •  p.218
  • Another boon I make known,
    Which he sought after this;
    That whatever man in particular
    Of the family of this Maedoc
    Should reject him out of presumption,
    The heavenly house of the holy angels
    Should never be dwelt in by him.
  • The third boon is to be enumerated:
    The house of hell shall not be shut
    On any one who is buried
    In one of his churches.
  • The fourth fair boon:
    A happy righteous soul
    Of the seed of Brandub of the rude contests,
    And (one of the seed) of beauteous Aed Finn,
    To be rescued by him speedily
    From Hell each single day
    To the end of this world.
    Each boon that he sought
    The chosen righteous man received.
  • The angels of God after the ratification of it
    (Were) coming in all haste
    At that time towards him
    As messengers from the Trinity
    To gentle Maedoc of the great company.
    Till the doom of the everlasting judgement shall come
    Will be known these mighty works.
    A mighty work.
  •  xliv

    Another time Maedoc was at Ferns. This was the time that some of his race were hostages in Munster with the Úi Conaill Gabra. Maedoc went to ransom them. And when he got there the king of the land would not admit him, and did not want to see him or listen to him, but kept him outside in front of the fort. Maedoc then fasted on the king. When he had finished his fasting, a very favourite daughter of the king's died  188a most suddenly. The wife of the king knew that it was because of the saint's fasting that the maiden had died; so she took the body of the maiden with her to where Maedoc was, and begged him earnestly and persistently to restore her daughter to life. Maedoc prayed on her behalf, and afterwards brought her to life again. However, the malignity of the king towards Maedoc remained unchanged at this, and he remained obstinate and spiteful in angry words against him.


    When then Maedoc was minded to curse him, there came a young and beautiful child to him and said to him: “God be thy life and health, thou perfect truly holy man,” said he, “and let thy curse and great displeasure be on that rocky stone before thee.” “I am willing that this stone be accursed,” said Maedoc. In the end the stone was divided into two exactly equal halves. When the king saw this miracle he repented deeply, and released the hostages to Maedoc without ransom, 225 and gave him the estate named Cluain Claidech in atonement for his repulse from the door of his house and fort. Maedoc built a church in that place, and blessed it and the king as well. So the name, &c.


    Another time Maedoc, with a hundred and fifty monks, was reaping corn in harvest-time. The king, Brandub son of Eochaid, came to where they were reaping on a visit to Maedoc. When the king saw them so humble and reverent to one another, he said: “It is wonderful to me that there should be so many in one company and (all) so loving and so humble.” “It is yet more wonderful,” said Maedoc, “that they are all monks (destined) for the holy and eternal life, except one single monk.” “Who is that man?” said the king. “He must be a monk (destined) for death, if he is not a monk (destined) for the holy life. Let us put him to death,” said the king, “that he be not any longer among the sheep of God.” Bishop Maedoc  188b said: “Thou shalt not slay him; yet thou shalt know presently who he is; for when the time of the celebration of our (canonical) hours shall come, they will all prostrate themselves to the ground, save only he.”


    When then the hour of tierce came, Maedoc and all the monks bent to the ground, except the one monk of evil life. Maedoc asked him why he did not prostrate himself before God as all (the others) did. He said that he had something else to think of. Maedoc expelled him from the congregation as an unbeliever; and he died a violent death on the seventh day after leaving the order; and his violent end was an immediate fulfilment of Maedoc's words among the monks.


    On another occasion Maedoc was minded to go to the royal and famous city, Cashel of Munster. The horses of his chariot stopped on the road, and did not move in any direction. Maedoc wondered at this. An angel of the Lord came to him, and said: “It is God's will that thou shouldst go to another country, said he, not to Munster, but to the Connaught district, for Guaire Aidne, the king of Connaught, is seriously ill in the city called Kilmacduagh, and thou art destined to heal him for the sake of God and thine own holiness.” Maedoc said: “Whatever the messenger of my Lord  p.220 shall say to me, I am ready to do it.” The angel said: “It is there God wills that thou shouldst go, and thy horses will go thither readily. ”


    Maedoc said to the lad: “Let the horses go,” said he, “in any direction they please.” The horses then set off in a northerly direction, and when they reached Lough Derg the horses crossed it with dry feet, as if it had been dry land, or a level path 226 which they had (to traverse) at that time. As they left the lough, two men happened to meet them on the way. Maedoc asked them for information as to the direct roads  189a to Kilmacduagh, for it was there that Guaire was lying sick at the time. One of the men said that there was no good road thither (lit. before them). The other man said: “If ye be good clerks, God will make a good road for yourselves and for your horses.” Maedoc blessed the road, and said thus: “God knoweth how we are; and God could make a good road for us, as thou sayest.”


    After he had said this, there became plain to them a practicable dry road, firm and level, through the high and difficult mountains, and through the dense branching forests, and through the soft yielding bogs, till they came to Kilmacduagh, where was Guaire son of Colman son of Cobthach, king of Connaught, being tended in sickness. How ever the king was healed of every sickness that troubled (lit. pursued) him, after Maedoc had made supplication and earnest prayer on his behalf. And Maedoc said to him afterwards: “Thou shall retain thy kingdom and authority for thirty years from to-day; and at the end of thy life thou shalt be for three years in mortal sickness, and thou shalt receive the kingdom of heaven at last because of thy charity and liberality.” Maedoc then blessed the king after fasting and praying on his behalf, and after making (lit. binding) soul-friendship with him. And a monastery 227 was constructed there in honour of Maedoc, and he left that church to Colman mac Duach, and from him the church is named, Kilmacduagh. And Maedoc departed to his own place afterwards.


    And it was to commemorate this that a poet sang this lay:

  • The visit of Aed of the high churches,
    To his race it was a visit 228 of help,
    When his kinsmen were in hostageship,
    In the district of Úi Conaill Gabra.
  • To ransom his related kin
    Went Maedoc the righteous prophet,
    One to whom credit was most fitting,
    To the fort of the lord of the land.
  •  p.221
  • To the saint was disobedient
    The king of the Úi Conaill of the fair roads,
    He kept Maedoc outside
    In front of his fort.
  •  189bMaedoc of the great assemblies fasted
    On the king whom right restrained not; 229
    His fair beloved daughter
    Died after the fasting.
  • The wife of the king with gracious intelligence
    Entreated Maedoc, 'twas no small matter,
    So that her daughter arose
    From death to life perfectly whole.
  • The malignity of the ignorant man
    Was greater and greater towards the true prophet,
    Maedoc, although he had restored
    His daughter for him to life perfectly.
  •  131
  • Maedoc of the black eyebrows attempted
    To curse the proud young man;
    Though it was his desire to curse him,
    A child at that time prevented it.
  • The voice of the little child (said):
    Let thy fresh curse now go,
    O slender hawk-like cleric,
    From thee onto the rocky stone.
  • I am willing, O beauteous child,
    That it should be as thou sayest,
    That it should strike this rocky stone,
    Without striking anything else,
  • And make two portions of it.
    God gave the saint such honour,
    That two exactly equal halves
    He made of the huge stone.
  • After all these things which we have expounded,
    Maedoc put such fear upon him,
    That the king gave up readily
    His hostages without ransom.
  • A lucky gift he also gave
    In return to Maedoc of the treasures,
    Land, and the site of a church,
    Which was called Cluain Cláidech.
  •  p.222
  • Maedoc, the son of the star,
    Out of a hundred and fifty -- I will not conceal it --
    Revealed the one man of them
    Who was to be damned at last.
  •  133
  • To his horses it was no serious matter;
    As (it had been) a road through a fair lawn,
    Across beauteous-hued Lough Derg
    They went with dry feet.
  • Forests, bogs, and spongy mountains 230
    The saint found, since it is being disclosed,
    A road through rough countries
    From Lough Derg to Kilmacduagh.
  • The mighty works of Maedoc of the great company,
    With whom faith was maintained;
    He helped completely
    The disease of Guaire the son of Colman.
  •  190aHe was in pursuit of full belief,
    Maedoc, the distributor of all good knowledge;
    He received from Guaire, the ever generous,
    Kilmacduagh as fee for his healing.
  • He left Mac Duach the well learned
    In his church after him as abbot;
    It was no bond of feeble saints,
    The covenant bond between them.
  • The son of generous Colman of the slender weapons
    (Was) ever at the beck of guests;
    Maedoc was his soul-friend (confessor)
    When he went to him on his first visit.
    The visit.
  •  xlvii

    A certain holy man named Molua mac Oiche came where Maedoc was, and told him that he was minded to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. Maedoc said to him: “I am not sure that thou wilt get my permission for that.” “It is certain that I shall die, if I do not see Rome, said Molua.” Maedoc thereupon mounted his chariot, and took Molua with him to Rome that night, without danger of sea or storm, of road, travel, or lengthy journey, through the favour of the Holy Spirit, and the miracles of Maedoc of the mighty deeds. And they came the next day to Ferns in Leinster without let or hindrance.


    Maedoc said to him afterwards: “Dost thou want to go on pilgrimage to Rome now, Molua?” “Why should I?” said Molua,  p.223 “when I was there last night, and found remission of my sins after my journey, and prayer, and penitence. However, I am ashamed to go so quickly to my own place, lest they doubt me.” Maedoc then went with him to escort him to his own monastery, after their being in Rome together. However, no man in the world knows, but only the God of the elements, how this journey was made, for God can make of difficult roads and rough paths by sea and land a direct way and short path for his saints of strong devotion in a single night, (as easily) as if they had a long time in which to traverse it.


    On another occasion the prior of Mochua of Lothra came to Maedoc, and said to him: “We have only a little wheat left; what shall we do? Sow it? or give it to the brethren?” Maedoc said: “Sow it copiously, and give liberally 231 to the brethren.” The messenger said: “How is it possible to do that?” Maedoc said: “Whether it be much or little that you have now, nothing of it shall fail, however much it be sown or eaten, till the earth's new corn come in.” And this was fulfilled through Maedoc's word.


    Another time Maedoc's own steward came to him and said: “We have nothing in the world in the kitchen,” said he, “but one vessel of drink and a little butter, and we do not know whether to give it to the monks, or to the guests.” Maedoc said: “Give it to both of them without stint, as if there were in the kitchen as much as it could hold of every kind of food and drink.” After this no man in the house had any lack of food or drink, but good abundance of both through the power of God and the miracles of Maedoc.


    Another time deceitful men came to Maedoc, having left their own clothes concealed in a wood outside the place, and asked him for other clothes. Maedoc, to whom their deceit had been revealed by God, said: “Wait a while,” said he, “till clothes can be procured”. And he sent a man secretly to the wood to fetch their clothes, and instructed him where he would find them. The man brought the clothes to Maedoc, and Maedoc gave them to the men. They were vastly ashamed on seeing their own clothes, and departed afterwards, and thus God revealed their deceit and trickery 232 to Maedoc.


     191aOnce upon a time the king of Ireland, 233 Aed son of Ainmire, accompanied by a great force and the king of Connaught, and the northern part of Ireland, with their under-kings, and high chiefs, came to invade and harry Leinster in revenge for the killing of Cumascach son of Ainmire by the Leinstermen on a previous occasion. That is to say, Cumascach, as heir apparent, went on progress in Leinster; and whatever place he came to, he insisted  p.224 that the lady of the place should be at his disposal during the time of his stay.


    He went to the place of Brandub son of Eochaid, and insisted on having his wife to share his bed like other women. So Cumascach was slain by the king of Leinster for this offence; and it was on this account that Aed son of Ainmire invaded Leinster to avenge him; and he would not accept gift or payment from them, but (was determined) to destroy and exterminate them altogether. The king of Leinster then came to his patron and chief soul-friend 234 (confessor), Maedoc the wonder-worker of Ferns, and made his complaint and accusation to him. Maedoc said: “There is many a saint and good devout man serving God instantly in thy territory,” said he, “and they must needs intercede for thee. Go then,” said Maedoc, “with strong protection to the battle, confiding in thine own saints and holy ecclesiastics, and I will be zealously on thy side. ”


    Maedoc made mighty supplication and instant prayer to God on behalf of his earthly lord, Brandub, son of Eochaid. Brandub set out eagerly on the morrow, with firm confidence in God and Maedoc, to fight against the high king of Ireland and the northern division. It is related, moreover, that there were 24,000 cavalry engaged in the battle, besides footmen and fine infantry. So the battle of Belach Duin Bolc was fought between them; and the victory  191b was gained by the king of Leinster on the spot, and the king of Ireland, Aed son of Ainmire, was killed there, and an innumerable company of nobles and gentry of Ireland with him, through the favour of God, and the miracles of Maedoc at that time.


    There was a man in Leinster called Saran the squinting, erenagh of Temple-Shanbo, who killed the above-named king, Brandub son of Eochaid, the heroic warrior-king of Leinster; and the king died without confession or the ministrations of the Church. When Maedoc heard this, he was sorry and greatly concerned, and he wept bitterly and heavily, and said: “I am sorry that the arm which slew and extinguished the protector of the Church, and the helper of the weak, the entertainer of the poor and the widow, and the protector of the feeble and aged 235 did not fall from its shoulder for all to see.” And this was fulfilled in the end, as is related below.


    Maedoc went to the place where the body and fair remains of the king were, and he was a whole year from one kalends to another, with his clergy and congregation, fasting on bread and water, as we said previously at the beginning of our undertaking, seeking to revive him; and he was healed afterwards, and arose in the presence of them all. The king said to Maedoc: “I pray thee, dear father,” said  p.225 he, “if thou canst obtain the kingdom of God for me, to let me go to it forthwith, for enough to me is the length and distance (of time) that I have been hitherto heaping up guilt and sins in the world.” This speech pleased Maedoc greatly; and when he had heard his confession, and the king had received the Communion and (last) Sacraments from Maedoc,  192ahe went to heaven forthwith. He was afterwards buried honourably at Ferna Mor Maedoc, where his seed and descendants are buried from that time forth, and the kings of Leinster with their full complement.


    Then came Saran the squinting, the man whom we have mentioned above as the slayer of the king, Brandub the son of Eochaid, stricken with remorse; and being penitent he went to the grave of the king at Ferns, and wept and lamented over it. He was in continual fasting and abstinence, and almost bare of clothing; and he would not leave the grave day or night. After he had been like this for a long time, a voice from the grave, like the voice of the king, said to him: “O Saran,” said he, “it is God's leave and Maedoc's that the arm with which thou didst slay me should fall from thee to the ground, as Maedoc said at first.” When he had said this, the arm fell from his (Saran's) side, as Maedoc had previously ordained. When the congregation saw this, they took Saran with them from the grave, and he led a good life afterwards.


    Another time Maedoc was praying, when he heard the voices 236 of the angels (singing) loudly in the air above him. And hearing them he prayed earnestly to God that he would take him from the earth forthwith, for he was weary of serving the world at that time. However, God thought it better that Maedoc should remain in the mortal flesh a while longer, in order that many unbelievers might be brought to belief and devotion by his means. An angel in the air said to him: “It is not God's will that thou shouldest leave the world at present, that thou mayest profit and fully succour men, to conduct  192b them to the haven of life by sowing and making known the divine Scripture.” 237 Maedoc said: “As long as it pleases thee or God, I would remain alive; I will not grudge all my labour and long service for Him.”


    Another time a poor man came to Maedoc from whom his lord claimed rent and heavy arrears, of which he could obtain no abatement, and he complained of this to Maedoc, and begged for help and assistance. Maedoc at the time was just about to sow barley, and he gave a handful 238 to the man. The man said to Maedoc: “What do I want to do with this?” said he. Maedoc said: “Thou shalt pay  p.226 the rent and arrears of thy entire holding both together with it,” said he, “and at the end have something over for thyself.” The poor fellow laughed for joy 239 on hearing him say this. The barley seed turned into gold of a beautiful hue in the man's bosom through the power of God; and he took it with him to where his lord was.


    The king asked him: “Where didst thou get all that gold?” He said that it was Maedoc who had made it from the seed barley of his field; and he then tendered it to his lord. Thereupon the lord said: “It is not fit for me to take this gold, but it should be given to God and to Maedoc; and I make thee free to God and to Maedoc for ever.” The man came back again to Maedoc with great joy, and told him all that his lord had said to him, and how he had freed him thenceforth for ever. The man gave all his land to Maedoc afterwards. Maedoc then prayed  193a to God, and the gold turned into natural barley-grain such as was wanted for the field where it was before. And the name, &c.


    Another time Maedoc wanted to build a church, and he could not find a wright anywhere to build it for him. He afterwards blessed the hands of a man named Cobban, and made him into an excellent wright. This church was made free to him, and was named from him. And there was no man who could surpass him or his church, and no wright who could surpass him from that time forth, through the power of God, and through the miracles of Maedoc.


    Maedoc the marvellous of the mighty deeds was seven full years fasting in Drumlane, without milk or ale, without flesh 240 or kitchen, but only a little bit of barley bread and a drink of water from one evening to another, and a little drink of milk every third Sunday, lying on the bare ground or a stone full hard, without any covering or clothing except the skins of wild untamed animals, continually reciting his psalms and psalters, and praying zealously to God on Lec na Némhann; for he used to recite thrice fifty psalms every day on cold clammy stones, or on the bare clean-swept floor; and seven psalters with fifty psalms in each psalter; and he never rejected the face of any man in the world in respect of food or drink or clothing, 241 if only he saw that he was (really) in need of them.


    So an angel came to him after his fasting and abstinence, when the Lord had perceived his devotion and conscientiousness, and asked him: “What dost thou ask of the one God now?” said he. “This verily is my request,” said Maedoc, “for all who succeed me in Drumlane, if only they do my will, and remain in submission to me (lit. in my bosom), and  193bfor all of the seed of Aed Finn or of any other seed who are buried in my cemetery (lit. with me), and choose (their  p.227 place of sepulture) in my monastery, and are subject reverently to my church, that they may have heaven without question, and further that I myself may be judge of doom to the men of Breifne.” The angel then departed, and finally came back to him and said: “It shall be thine, it shall be thine; thou shalt have all that thou askest of the mighty Lord, O holy and renowned patron saint,” said he, “for He is now glad, and well content with thee.”


    Some time after this a strange and wondrous vision appeared to Maedoc in Drumlane; to wit, all the ramifications of the family (lit. battalion) of Aed Finn simultaneously, and their genealogical branches, and ramifications of relationship, and further the name of every king and every great chief of them who should obtain sovereignty and authority to the end of the world. This thing was a great wonder and astonishment to Maedoc. He sent in all haste for Columcille to come to him, that he might tell him the vision, and that he (Columcille) might give a true interpretation of it. Columcille came in response to the message, and he went to heaven to learn the interpretation of the vision, as he was wont to go every Thursday to converse with the angels of heaven; as he said himself in the verse:

    1. I know my way on the firm earth,
      I go to the abodes of hell,
      I flee every Thursday to heaven,
      At the call of the King of the three companies.


    An angel told the meaning of the vision to Columcille, and said: “What the vision reveals is the way in which the race and descendants of the proud and mighty man, Aed Finn, son of Fergna, under whom are the churches and fellow-habitants of Maedoc with his great companies, will fork and ramify,” said he, “and his race and posterity will be enemies and unfriends, and contentious and disunited towards one another; and these are their names, Ruarc and Ragallach. Ruarc son of Tigernan  194a &c., son of Cernachan, and Ragallach son of Cathalan &c., son of Cernachan; and many will be the progeny of both.”


    “Let there be raised and strongly built in another land by Maedoc,” said the angel, “another honourable place in addition to Drumlane, to receive his due and tribute from all in general; and this will be one of the three most lasting fires for entertainment 242 in Úi Briuin, to wit the fire of this place, whence Maedoc saw the vision, Drumlane; and Cuillín na bFer or Rossinver, and Cell Mor Feidlimid. And as to this Ruarc that I spoke of,” said the angel, “God shall swiftly pour down the raging fire of his wrath on his progeny and posterity, unless they submit to and greatly honour  p.228 Maedoc in respect of tribute 243 and due. The seed of Ragallach are bound to increase and maintain beyond all others the revenues of Drumlane, because of the care and zeal which Maedoc bestowed upon them beyond every other race in the neighbourhood.”


    Columcille came to Maedoc and told him the answer of the angel from beginning to end; and it was plain to Maedoc himself, for the angel came with his message to Maedoc in company with Columcille, and told him to go in haste to Rossinver, and to inhabit and occupy it, 244 and that it would be there that he would be buried and rise to meet the Lord with His company, and that he himself would be judge of doom to the men of Breifne. Maedoc came at the joint instance and command of the angel and Columcille to Port na fFinnlec, which is now called Rossinver, with his fifty holy clerks, 245 besides work-people and servants, and people for singing, for saying the canonical hours, and for other fair offices.


    As Maedoc with his company, and many saints together with him, drew near to the fair shining Cuillín 246 and the beautiful wooded forest which was near the mighty lough, they heard the sweet harmonious singing,  194b and the melodious words of the chanting, and the loud musical voice and heavenly shouts of the fair wondrous angels above the Cuillín and its dwellings, and the unceasing unresting converse of the bright and mighty angels as they moved above them, so that all the air 247 was filled with their number and great multitude, their mirth and loud voices. The saints looked forth, and one of them said: “Fair is the band of glorious, active, and swift men yonder, who are singing the solemn and moving strain above the Cuillín.”


    “Be that one of the famous names of the place till doom,” said Maedoc, 'the Cuillín of the Fair Men'; and Ros na nAingel (Promontory of the Angels) is another name for it, from the visitation and movement of angels round about it; Port na fFinnlec (Port of the White Stones) is another name for it, from the white and dazzling 248 stones which are to be seen on the neighbouring strand. Rossinver (Promontory of the Inlet) was the name which finally became attached to it in common parlance, from the inlet of the broad and mighty lough, and of the two strong foaming rivers which meet there; for ind is the name of every confine or border, and bir is the name of any water, that is the border of each water of them as they meet. And therefore it is called Ros Inbir.


    Maedoc consecrated and blessed the place, together with a number of angels and high saints round about to give it 249 a perpetual blessing. He built a strong and ample oratory, and a fair-built quadrangular  p.229 regular church 250 in preparation for his resurrection. He was a long time in this place sowing belief and devotion, dispensing hospitality and noble gifts, distributing charity and alms, preaching and instructing the people, teaching knowledge and true learning in the high schools, entertaining guests and poor men daily, so that every man obtained from him special and adequate help in respect of soul  195a and body at one and the same time. On this wise then did the blessed saint spend his life and length of days.


    Muirigen the son of Duban &c ... the son of Aengus Musc (from whom are descended the Muscraige Failinne) ... son of Lonan, the poet of the Muscraige, &&c., held the chieftainship and authority over the Muscraige when Maedoc came to Rossinver, for Rossinver was parcel of the lands of Muscraige Failinne at that time, the patrimony of Muscraige extending from Glend Ferna to Lough Melvin, and from Sliab da Chon to Glend Muighe. Now Muirigen son of Duban had a proud and powerful sister named Failenn. She built a royal spacious fort, and a fair and strong city in this territory, in which was displayed (lit. used) all the honour and glory of the terri tory. From this Failenn are derived the names of Rath Failinne and Muscraige Failinne.


    Now Failenn and Muirigen were annoyed that Maedoc should occupy their inheritance and land; and they warned him off and denied it to him. But he would brook no denial, and said: “The spot in which God has granted me to make my last resting-place and abode, that spot I will not forsake,” said he, “for the sod on which I stand is the sod of my resurrection and burial; for there are three sods which no single man can avoid or elude, the sod of his birth, the sod of his death, and the sod of his burial; as one said:”

    1. Three little sods which are not avoided,
      As the masters of speech say,
      The sod of one's birth, the sod of one's death,
      And the sod of one's burial.

    However, they insisted on expelling and banishing him against his will after his answer and decision.


    Finally Maedoc was angered against Muirigen and Failenn; he turned his bachals and enduring relics round them three times  195b widdershins. He rang his bells and handbells together against them, that is the Mac Ratha (son of Grace), the bell of the brooch, the bell of the hours, which is called the white bell, and the bells of the clergy and congregation from that time forth; and he cursed them without delay, and said that there should never be any of their seed or descendants in the headship of the district to the brink of doom, and  p.230 that they should have no profit of their territory or land, save only that the fort and territory in which he was should be named after Failenn, to wit Rath Failinne and Muscraige Failinne; and that their inheritance and land should be an empty waste holding after them, which was fulfilled; so that Muirigen went to Leinster through the malediction and mighty curse of Maedoc, and it is there that his descendants and seed are thenceforth through the malediction and mighty curse of Maedoc; and there will his seed be till doom. Failenn moreover was likewise without son or progeny.


    Another time Maedoc was washing his hands at the river near the place. A number of men were watching him, and thereupon one of them said: There is no man in the world who could provoke Maedoc to strife or anger. There was a rude 251 uncivilized ignorant churl present; and he said: I shall be able to, said he. Now Maedoc at the time was wearing clothes made of the skins of brute beasts and wild animals. The man came to him, and shot him into the river. Maedoc said to him patiently: “What is this that thou hast done, thou rash ill-mannered man?” said he.


    The man saw then that the skins which Maedoc wore were dry, warm, and compact, without a flock or hair of them being wetted or spoiled  196aby the water. And when he saw this he was stricken with great remorse, and he said: “I am penitent and ashamed for what I have done,” said he, “and grant me forgiveness for the sake of the God of the elements.” Maedoc said: “It is well for thee, O man,” said he, “that thou hast confessed thy guilt and crimes, and hast repented of them. Howbeit, hadst thou not repented, the earth would have swallowed thee up in punishment for thy crimes. But now thou shalt receive heaven, and shalt die a Christian death forty years hence.” And the pledge and promises of Maedoc were fulfilled in this way.


    On a certain occasion the steward of Molua of Lorrha came to Maedoc and said: “We have been labouring to build a church, and we have the material cut in the forest, but we have no means of hauling or carrying it in the way of horses or men.” “Go to your chambers,” said Maedoc, “and whatever sound ye hear to-night, let none of you look out.” They heard a great noise coming from the forest towards the church, but no one ventured to look out owing to the saint's injunction.


    There was a rude ignorant churl in the place at that time, and he went against Maedoc's command by looking to see what was making the loud noise and the thundering rush. And he saw from where he was, through the slit of the door or the keyhole, a great  p.231 number of young and distinguished monks with fair golden hair [down to their shoulders 252] busily hauling and dragging the timber from the forest. Then there came a loud voice outside which said: “Cease, O angels, from your work and service; for had yonder man not looked at you contrary to the command of the saint, ye would yourselves have accomplished all the building of the church to-night, so that there would have been nothing lacking to it.” Afterwards, however, Cobban built the church by virtue of his being blessed by Maedoc.


    Another time Maedoc was in the district of Munster in Úi Conaill Gabra, near Ida's church; and Maedoc was minded to go to visit  196bhis father-confessor Molua mac Oiche, when he heard the bells of Ida's place ringing. Maedoc asked why the bells which he heard were ringing. A voice in the air replied, that it was a foster- child of Ida, a virgin who was a dearly-loved favourite of hers, 253 that had died. Ida heard that Maedoc was in the neighbourhood, and on hearing it she sent a messenger to him, to bid him come and restore the maiden to life, relying on his sanctity and effectual prayer. Maedoc told one of the disciples to go to the place, and take his (Maedoc's) staff with him, and lay it on the maiden's breast. This was done, and she arose at once in the presence of all, and every one who saw or heard of these great miracles, gave glory for them to God and to Maedoc.


    Another day a thief came to Maedoc, and stole an ox from his herd, and proceeded to eat it. The thief was charged with the act, and when he was about to take an oath to Maedoc respecting the ox, an ear of the ox was seen (protruding) from his mouth, and on seeing this, all who were about him began to mock and jeer at him. The thief repented afterwards and confessed, and finally walked in. a better course and way of life. And the name, &c.


    Another time Maedoc was at Ferns, when he saw a number of the king of Leinster's horsemen coming towards him, with a man in bonds whom they were taking to the king for his crimes and misdeeds, for he was a man who had violated law and rule exceedingly. Maedoc was greatly moved to compassion for him, and said to them: “Release this man to me, in honour of the mighty Christ, and do not take him to his destruction.” They said they would not let him go  197a till he was in the hands of the king. When the horse men were passing close to a neighbouring forest, it appeared to them as if a great company of their enemies were waiting in ambush for them on either side of the road round about, and they fled forthwith 254 at seeing this; and left the prisoner fast-bound without any guard  p.232 in the place in which he was. When the king heard this he commanded that he should be freed from the process and prosecution in which he was involved. And the name, &c.


    Anotner time Maedoc and Munnu the son of Tulcan were together. Maedoc went to a lofty place in a corner of the church. Munnu saw him there, and asked: What dost thou see, O noble worthy righteous one? said he, and whatever sight thou seest, tell it me. Maedoc then made the sign of the holy Cross exactly over the eyes of the abbot, Munnu, so that he saw all that Maedoc saw, to wit, the whole great world from sunrise to sunset, as if it were all but the measure 255 of a single furlong. Munnu and Maedoc descended from the place where they were, and Munnu afterwards related the story to the monks. And the name, &c.


    Another time Maedoc was going along the road one day. Colman son of Fiachra happened to meet him on the way. At that moment one of Colman's horses died suddenly in Maedoc's presence. Maedoc harnessed one of his own horses to Colman's chariot in place of his (dead) horse. After they had been a short time like this, Colman's horse came from death to life (and went) gently and caressingly to Maedoc, as seemed good to the favour of God and Maedoc, and placed itself under his chariot. When Colman came back by the same way, he found on his arrival his own horse alive harnessed to Maedoc's chariot, and he wondered greatly thereat, and gave praise 256 to God and to Maedoc.


     197bAnother time Maedoc was planting fruit-trees in his garden on a certain day, 257 and the man who was handing the trees to him, brought to Maedoc shoots of unproductive trees, beeches and alders, and any tree that chanced; and they were all planted together on that occasion. It came then of the favour of God and of the miracles of Maedoc that the unproductive trees which he set, ended by becoming trees as fruitful (as the others), and that sweet well- tasted apples, and proper ripe edible nuts came on them at the time when nuts and fair fruit came on the other trees.


    Another time Maedoc and an immature young child were by a cross which there was in the monastery (lit. place) at Ferns. Presently Maedoc wrote a psalm for the child. The child saw him mount a golden ladder which reached from earth to heaven; and when he descended later, the child could not look in his face for the great brilliance and resplendence of the Deity which transfused and beautified his countenance. Maedoc said to the child: “Beware that thou never tell to any one in the world what thou hast seen.” The child said: “If thou tell me whither thou wentest, I will not tell any  p.233 one what I have seen.” “I went,” said he, “with the gladness of the company of heaven, to meet the soul of Columcille as it went to join them, who was my own soul-friend (confessor) in this world.” The child related these words publicly after the death of Maedoc, when he himself had become a full-grown and devout man.


    So it was to declare this that a poet 258 spoke the lay:

  • An addition to the miracles of Maedoc,
    A great thing it is to extol them;
    To set out to enumerate them — a bruit not to be concealed —
    Is no task for one man.
  • He went to Rome in a journey of one day,
    Aed the hospitable;

    Without danger of storm on the great sea,
    The friend of our clergy.
  • He and Molua went in one day and night,
    Twas a bold guidance,
    East and west on the road to Rome,
    Maedoc the modest.
  •  173
  • His little quantity of wheat which Maedoc had,
    Great was the cheer,
    Served as seed and as food for a year,
    Liberally, pleasantly.
  •  174
  • With the little food of the monastery were satisfied
    All whom he guided,
    His household folk, though it was unheard of,
    God accorded it.
  •  175
  • He saw coming towards him a naked band
    Through deceitful guile,
    Having placed their own (clothes) in secret hiding,
    To ask for clothing.
  • All their clothing from the forest,
    Where it was hidden,
    He restores to them immediately,
    Mild (was) the compulsion.
  •  176
  • When the arm of Saran fell from his side,
    {} 259
    In requital for the slaying of great Brandub,
    Which was no thankless opinion (?).
  •  p.234
  • He brought Brandub from death to life,
    Though it was a dangerous deed;
    It is none the worse to boast of it in regard to Maedoc,
    The treasury of devotion.
  •  177
  • The voice of the angels above him he hears,
    Unhindered movement;
    And asked of God as an easy device,
    Death rather than life.
  • 'Jesus prefers,' said the angel,
    (A gracious answer,)
    ('For thee) to plant belief in all with law of rule;
    Right is the protection,
    Rather than thy death with lofty desire,
    O slender noble one.'
  •  178
  • Let us mention another of his miracles,
    The patron saint of Europe;
    Maedoc the great and glorious made
    Gold of barley.
  •  179
  • Cobban the wright, 'twas he that he blessed,
    The chief of wrights,
    Who verily bore the palm from every other
    Wright of the world.
  •  180
  • Seven years he was a fasting,
    Hard was the misery;
    (With) only this portion instead of every banquet,
    Bread and water.
  • Lying naked on a stone or on the bare floor
    Against his prison,
    Reciting, no laboured deceit,
    Psalm and psalter.
  •  198bJudge of doom over every man of Breifne
    He will be assuredly.
    He obtained from Jesus, not difficult the requital,
    The protection of each good man.
  •  181
  • Muirigen himself and Failenn,
    True (were the) judgements;
    He took from them, I will not conceal it from another,
    The strength of the land.
  •  p.235
  • He expelled Muirigen son of Duban,
    Bold was the good man,
    From his own land, it was a concealed hedge,
    To the centre of Leinster.
  • His family remains in the border of Leinster,
    Enough of gloom,
    Without returning to their own land to see it,
    A course without rule.
  • Maedoc bequeathed a curse,
    Worse was her place therefor;
    Great Failenn had no son or household,
    A pure virgin branch.
  • He did not leave to the fair-surfaced 260 land
    With the refined, high-couraged one,
    Anything except that her name should remain on the country, 261
    Though (she had been) lady of households.
  •  182
  • After he had been thrown into the middle of the pool,
    It was no pleasant leap,
    His cloak came from the river,
    And his body (lit. side) all dry.
  •  183
  • The material of a church he carried
    To its proper place
    By means of a band of spotless angels,
    A fitting business. 262
  •  184
  • A virgin who had been nurtured by Ida,
    Not a virgin of Aed's,
    He helped her at Ida's bidding
    After she had died.
  •  185
  • His ox was stolen by a thief;
    Though it was a secret theft,
    The ear of the ox protrudes from his mouth,
    It was a strong compulsion.
  •  186
  • A prisoner at his will from the king of Leinster,
    'Tis a sure saying,
    He bore with him, as was heard and remembered,
    From the confinement of fetters.
  •  187
  • The whole world in its entirety,
    Both ocean and fair plain,
    He saw with his clear glance,
    A wondrous sight.
  •  p.236
  • After the death of the horse of the son of Fiachra,
    'Twas no secret death,
    He restored its life to it after its decease;
    Sure was the help.
  •  189 199a
  • Every barren forest tree performed
    Service to (Aed óc),
    Beech and alder grew 263 for his profit
    Beneath a fragrant nut-crop.
  •  190
  • A golden ladder had Aed for climbing,
    (What pasture is better?)
    Going from the fair sunny earth
    To cloudy heaven.
  • To meet the glory of the soul of Columcille
    (Passing) to the court of heaven,
    He went upwards in the path before him,
    A sun with whiteness.
  • If I should show (all) the miracles of Maedoc,
    It would be a great matter to show them.
    To his mighty works, hold the decision,
    Came an addition.
    An addition.
  •  lxviii

    Another time Maedoc was going along the road to Ath Imdain. His servant said to him: “Tell me, O father,” said he, “who will be bishop in thy room in thine own monastery, Ferns.” Maedoc said: “Whoever shall open the gate of yonder ford in front of us, he will be bishop in my room.” They saw coming towards them a troop 264 of wanton restless scholars with toy shields and spears, playing and hurling together. One of them came and eagerly opened the gate of the ford, and undid the valve of it. The servant said 265: “Is it really yonder young and foolish scholar, that will be our patron in thy stead?” said he.


    The scholar then came to Maedoc, the Holy Spirit kindling and blazing strongly in him, and said to him: “O divine and discreet man,” said he, “I am minded to go with thee, and to spend my life in thy country, under the yoke of thy rule and great devotion.” Maedoc asked him of what land he was, and what his name was. “I am a Munsterman,” said he, “and my name is Cronan son of Failenn, &c., and I am one of the inhabitants of Luachra (Lougher) in the south.” Maedoc said: “Thou shalt be called by another name, Moling Luachra; and follow me henceforth,” said he.


    Moling Luachra followed him afterwards  199b to the time of Maedoc's death, and became eventually a holy man of noble morals and sacred devotion, so that by reason of his miracles and great sanctity Maedoc ordained that he should be regular bishop in his own room at Ferns after his death, that is in his own household and conse crated monastery; and everything was fulfilled as Maedoc promised concerning them.


    The family of Ragallach are bound above all to advance and greatly honour Drumlane, for Maedoc left it as one of his bequests to them that their spoils should come to them at their homes (lit. beds), and commanded them not to enter or trespass on his land, and of any living creature not to kill so much as a hare or an angled trout within the territory of his church or sanctuary, and if they should do so, they should have short life and hell, and disease and famine in return; since there were two hundred and ten saints with Maedoc at Drumlane praying God earnestly for the death and destruction of every one who should do outrage or violence or displeasure to him, and for the grace and prosperity of the people who should do the will of his congregations and his elders after him.


    These are the seven relics which Maedoc had as arms of battle against the injustice of the race of Aed Finn and others in general; to wit, the Brec, and the staff of Brandub, and the white staff, and the white bell, that is the bell of the hours, the bell of the brooch, the Mac Ratha, and the reliquary. The seed of Aed Finn therefore, when they see any of the relics, or all of them, are bound to rise, and do obeisance to them.


    So it was to show the names of these relics that an author made these verses:

  • What is the number of great Maedoc's relics
    To be named without distress? 266
    The question which I put without secrecy, 267
    I myself know the solution of it.
  • The seven chief famous relics,
    For division among his churches
    He left, enumerating them all
    Completely, the prophet of righteousness.  268
  •  200aThe blessing of all by them
    On the part of great pure and gentle Maedoc;
    They (are) a fetter to all afterwards,
    If their heavy hostility be deserved.
  •  p.238
  • I remember the number of the relics
    To which he trusted for the protection of his fair churches
    With his melodious 269 words without oath,
    According to the gentle rule of Maedoc.
  • One of them is the eminent Brec,
    Which brings down strength on great hosts;
    As second (I count) the white staff,
    Which was in the hand of perfect Aed.
  • The eminent staff of Brandub
    As the third of them we have mentioned;
    As was heard of me without oath,
    These (are) the noblest relics of Maedoc.
  • The fourth relic of them,
    The smooth eminent reliquary,
    In which is a portion of his own gift,
    And some of the relics of the just man.
  • The fifth is the Mac Ratha (son of grace)
    Which was in the hand of the holy prince,
    A prayer bell of his fair body,
    On the knee, on the breast of the patron saint.
  • The sixth of them, the bell of the hours,
    Which assembled all to the church;
    To the church would come at its sound
    A hundred and fifty students.
  • The seventh of them (was) the son 270 of the brooch
    That was on the mantle of the fair rosy-cheeked one;
    It is these according to their enumeration
    That are the seven relics of the generous hospitable 271 one.
  • The gentle and noble one, the virgin youth,
    The wonder-working marvellous Maedoc,
    His history is all clear to me,
    The patron saint of these seven noble relics.
  •  198
  • What is the number that should arise up
    At the approach of the wonder-working insignia
    To receive dues 272 from every quarter
    For the lofty relics of the high saint?
  • This is the head and chief over them,
    Maedoc's pre-eminent Brec,
    In which are gifts from Christ Himself,
    And Colum the smooth-skinned wrote of it.
  •  p.239
  • The white staff, it is no lie,
    To which every one is bound for its preservation,
    If they are to be enumerated by me exactly,
    Is the second of the chief relics.
  • Tullyhunco of the victories,
    Tullyhaw with all its hosts,
    The battalion of Conmaice, Cul O fFloinn,
    As part of the portion of the bachall.
  •  200bFermanagh and Breifne on the east,
    And the Dartraighe (are) with the eminent Brec;
    To it belong their tributes and dues,
    Their honour and offerings.
  • To the smooth melodious reliquary
    In these countries which I mention
    Belongs the exaction of their tribute and benevolences,
    Without unpleasantness or violence.
    From Drogheda without neglect 273
    To Drumlane, as I say.
  • To the bachall of Brandub, it is no lie,
    (Belongs) the province of Leinster of the great hundreds;
    By it (the bachall) from the fair province claims
    The high saint to receive his tribute.
  • Thus are the stewards bound
    Who raise on every side the tribute
    Of the coarb of pure and pleasant Maedoc
    To divide it among all the chief churches.
  • After their enumeration by me distinctly,
    The seven high relics of the just man,
    They shall all, and it will be in your presence,
    Be aiding you in the day of sovereignty (i. e. judgement).
  • Gilla Mochuda, it is no falsehood,
    That is my name without distress;
    The seven relics of Maedoc without deceit,
    By me they were enumerated continuously. 274
    What number.
  •  lxix

    Maedoc once went to the place where Molaise of Devenish was, to bind their covenant and union with one another in heaven and on earth, as they had previously done, when the Lord gave them the sign of parting from one another by the fall of the trees at the foot of which they were in the district of Magh Slecht, to  p.240 speak particularly, as we related on another occasion. 275 They bound then their covenant and union both of body and soul, that is, that whoever should earn the reproach or reproof of one of these, should be cursed and excommunicated by both; and that their blessing and constant intercession should be for all who should do their will and good pleasure, and the will and good pleasure of all their successors after them. And they arranged between themselves at that time that they, their elders, and their congregations, should mutually render to each other the chief honour and respect, that is, that Maedoc should be first mentioned in prayer  201a and plangent supplication 276 in the subject district and termon of Molaise, and Molaise in Maedoc's subject district; for it is not right to supplicate or mention Maedoc without Molaise, or Molaise without Maedoc; as the verse says:

    1. The same mind, the same union,
      To the two beauteous saints;
      Molaise shall not be without Maedoc,
      Nor Maedoc without Molaise.


    Molaise bound and confirmed the tribute and dues of Maedoc on the men of Fermanagh on this great circuit, that is, the Easter circuit every third year; (that is) a scruple from every city and every one of their forts, a horse from the king on his coronation day, and a cloak from every chief. Half a groat from every house in Toorah (Tuaith Ratha), that is from the race of Cairbre son of Niall generally. A penny from every hearth in all Fermanagh, the first drink of every drinking horn, a seat on one side (lit. a shoulder) of each king and prince, the lead in conference and decision to his successor after him; and further that no king or chief of a territory should be made in the land without light-fee being paid to the family of Maedoc. That Maedoc should have a house and garden in Molaise's place, Devenish. That the family of Molaise should rise up before the family of Maedoc whenever they see them; and in like manner the family of Maedoc before the family of Molaise. Moreover, Molaise left sorrow and sickness, loss of memory and (good) counsel on the men of Fermanagh, if they hear this tribute being demanded, and fail to pay it humbly and respectfully to Maedoc's stewards.


    Maedoc himself ordered the men of Breifne to do the will and good pleasure of the family of Molaise in like manner all their life long, and not to refuse them. Molaise further granted to Maedoc a half quarter of land free from all benevolences to bishop or king, in addition to all other boons or grants which he gave him, as a fixed place for the levying and collection of his tribute and dues from the territory of Fermanagh and its chief tribes, whence he might carry them  p.241 himself to his chief churches, after they had been brought together to one spot to his stewards and strong coarbs.

    Maedoc built and consecrated a beautiful church 277 in the place called Killybeg. And he left O Connolly in the headship of the church to protect and maintain it. There is a stone of Maedoc in the place on which he left this as one of its virtues, that whoever shall do wrong or injustice to the erenaghs or tenants of this church, shall not be alive at the end of a year, if this stone be thrice turned widdershins against him, as the wise men of that land and territory agree. As the proverb says: “Every man of an estate or land is a shanachie” (historian).


    And it was to prove all these things that the following lay was made:

  • The right of Maedoc over the host of Fermanagh,
    Royal deadly young warriors,
    This right Molaise made fast, 278
    A deed to which there is witness.
  • Molaise, the head of all Fermanagh,
    Both kings and great men,
    He made fast the covenant 279 on his land
    Between himself and Maedoc.
  • Thus did they make fast,
    The saints, 280 their harmonious covenant;
    From a fee of a hundred horses (down) to a mantle brooch
    May be levied on it as eric.
  • Molaise the son of Natfraech bound it
    On his own family without deceit,
    To invoke gentle famous Maedoc
    Ever in the first place to their aid.
  • A circuit every third Easter with grace
    The modest honourable Molaise gave;
    A scruple from every city in his land
    To the stewards of Maedoc in the first place.
  • A horse on the day that is made
    The king of Erne of the fruitful land,
    To be set in strength on every road
    In honour of Molaise and Maedoc.
  •  203
  • A half-groat from the house of every man of Toorah
    Molaise fastened upon his land,
    To the clergy of Maedoc (it was) a cause of protection,
    And a mantle from every royal chief.
  •  p.242
  • The (drinking-)horn first to great Maedoc
    Molaise granted throughout his host,
    A shoulder of each king, a course without hindrance (lit. captivity)
    To Aed óc and his successor.
  • Another addition to the rightful tribute
    Is (imposed) on them in his honour, 202a
    The lead in conference of the fair country
    (To belong) to Maedoc and his family.
  • There is an addition to what we have mentioned,
    From the host of Fermanagh, as I declare,
    To Maedoc as lawful tribute,
    A penny on every hearth.
  • No king or chief, an unlawful step,
    In all the borders of Fermanagh,
    Must be made, whether old or young,
    Without light-fee to Maedoc.
  •  204
  • Molaise promised, it was a mighty matter,
    That his warriors would be in misery,
    If in their land they showed contempt
    For the service due to  281 Maedoc.
  • If the men of Fermanagh hear the tribute
    (Demanded) and do not all pay it,
    They will receive of the Lord 282
    Failure of memory and counsel.
  • Some of the clergy making lampoons on them all, 283
    Others of the clergy excommunicating them,
    The men of Fermanagh, it is very grievous for them
    To earn the curse of the son of Sétna. 284
  • A house and garden in his fair church
    As an ever-increasing favour
    To Maedoc as a place of rest
    Did Molaise grant among the men of Fermanagh.
  • The family of Molaise must never
    Fail to arise on any account,
    On any land, on any soil,
    Before the family 285 of Maedoc till doom.
  •  p.243
  • The honourable saint Molaise gave
    To Maedoc a site for a church
    By a charter of privilege on this wise, 286
    Without benevolence 287 to king or bishop.
  • It was for this that he gave the fair church,
    As a present from himself to the high saint,
    For the collection of his good tribute,
    To be apportioned among his churches.
  •  205
  • There is a stone, a bare stone,
    If the sages of the land speak true,
    (Placed) by Maedoc in the venerable church
    To protect it against wrong.
  • By (the power of) this stone till doom,
    If it be thrice turned widdershins,
    No man who outrages it (the church) without provocation
    Will be alive at the end of a year.
  • The cause for which the two saints bound
    Together the covenant between them,
    (Was) to exalt their brave churches,
    And increase (their) honour.
  • To check wars and battles
    Molaise bound a covenant 202b
    With Maedoc of the sweet words,
    In respect of their beautiful broad country of fair lands.
  • When they go from their own home,
    The family of Molaise with gentle will,  288
    The men of Breifne beyond all others
    Are bound to be joyful in their bands.
  • We will not follow out further
    The covenant of the heavenly saints;
    It is adjusted between them
    Without wrath or friction.
  • I am Gilla Mochuda from the road (?)
    Of the family of Molaise and Maedoc;
    Through the mighty intercession of the saints
    May I be borne to the heaven of holy right.
    The right.
  •  lxx

    Once when Maedoc and Ultan of Ardbreckan were together at Ath na bFer (Rossinver), whither Maedoc had come from  p.244 Munster, they bound their alliance and friendship with one another, though they had often done so before, for they were from the first dear friends and perpetual allies to one another. Maedoc made known to Ultan on this occasion the nature of his tribute and dues from the race and descendants of Aed Finn, and further the nature of his genealogical tree and family branches by way of poetical 289 explanation, for this man Ultan was a poet as well as a true saint. The two patrons and high saints foretold every king and every great lord who would come of the race of Aed Finn to the end of the world; and it was on this account that Ultan enumerated the name of every single king and of every single lord of them by way of scientific explanation through the instruction and high teaching of Maedoc, together with the nature of his tribute and dues from the tribes. They bade farewell to each other on this occasion sadly, sorrowfully, and mournfully, Maedoc having said through the spirit of knowledge 290 and prophecy that they would never see each other again.


    Maedoc went west to Clonmacnois to bind his alliance and covenant with Ciaran and his congregation. Ultan went east to Ardbreckan to his own place; and it was there he composed and wove together by the poetic art of authors and ollaves the steps of the genealogy and the family branches of the descendants (lit. battalion) of Aed Finn,  203a and the tribute-dues of Maedoc,291 as follows:

    1. The story of Maedoc, remember it,
      For it ought not to be forgotten,
      The sage of Ferns the pure and bright,
      Of Drumlane and Ros Ainglide (Rossinver).
    2. The sage when old made known,
      After coming to Ath na bFer,
      His story distinctly and clearly,
      And it is known to me.
    3. It is to be recited every hallow tide;
      He commanded the seed of Fergna
      That they should not carry off secretly
      The dues without their being habitually demanded.
    4. I will speak of the fair dues,
      I will show forth the story of the high saint,
      I will tell you the unblemished truth of it,
      All the kings who will serve him.

  • The four whom the verse makes known,
    Mention their names in the story,
    The band who are bound after him
    To exact and enumerate them (the dues).
  •  p.245
  • Forty-five fair years
    After he had come from the east across the sea,
    I remember it all afterwards,
    His mighty works and miracles.
  • Great Maedoc, the noble son of Sétna,
    Son of Erc, by whom hundreds were put to flight,
    Son of Feradach, liberal without reproach,
    Son of Fiachra, son of Amalgaid,
  • Son of Muiredach, son of Carthann,
    Son of Erc, son of handsome Eochaid,
    Son of Colla Uais, a hero untroubled,
    Son of bold Eochaid Doimlen,
  • Son of Cairbre of the Liffey, conceal it not, 292
    Son of Cormac, son of Art Aenfer,
    Son of brave Conn the hundred-fighter,
    From whom was descended every noble prince.
  • From Maedoc of great learning
    To Conn of the welcoming answer,
    I will not grumble at the company,
    There are fourteen good men.
  •  209
  • The pupil of fair religious Caillin
    Used to read every book,
    Practising great learning,
    Yielding answer 293 from Colum.
  • Maedoc, of the seed of Colla Úais,
    Columcille, whose reward did not wither,
    Two of Conn's Half with a hundred graces,
    After them never came any as good as they.
  • Worthy, compassionate, each of them,
    Great their favour on every one,
    There will not come, however base the desire,
    Any reproach after them in the world.
  •  210
  • At Dulane beside the road,
    There Maedoc and I parted,
    He west to Cluain without anguish,
    And I east to Ardbreckan.
  • Twas then he said to me,
    A true answer which I long remembered: 294
    Whether long or short our two lives,
    We shall not see each other again.
  •  p.246
  • True doer of mighty work in Ferns is the man,
    Good to his guest in Drumlane;
    Where he is most eager to be entreated
    (Is) at Lough Melvin in Ros Ainglide.
  • The fair ridge 295 was the first place in which he settled
    After coming from the borders of Munster,
    When he baptized Aed Dub (the swarthy) at Ath Airm,
    To whom the true name 296 Aed Finn (the fair), became attached.
  • Aed was blessed by him there,
    Grace of kingship to his successor,
    If only he do not refuse, a course of rule,
    Maedoc's dues every year.
  • He left pre-eminent gifts till doom
    To the descendants of Fergna beyond all others,
    That his land and estate (should be) in his tribe,
    And that foreign tribes should not inhabit them.
  • He left to them without blemish
    Honour, liberality, and service,
    Hospitality, and mildness 297 of judgements,
    Endurance in conflicts and hardihood in battles.
  •  211
  • The supreme rule for a time to them
    From Maedoc with his great glory;
    Three of them over Banba (Ireland), I testify to the matter,
    Thrice three over the province of Connaught.
  • Thrice five 298 kings of them afterwards
    Who will succeed to Breifne, conceal it not,
    Till the heavy outrage be inflicted,
    I remember their names.
  • Three Fergals, three wondrous Aeds,
    Three Nialls, three manly Ualgargs,
    Tigernan, Amlaib (Anlaf, Olaf) two Arts,
    Five Concobars, two Cathals;
  • The son of the Victor, the Pale Crooked-back,
    By him the outrage is inflicted,
    It is he who will spring upon the men,
    And destroy the people of Breifne299.
  •  p.247
  • It seems long to me, though the man be powerful,
    It has brought sorrow mightily upon my soul,
    At sunset on a hot day
    The battle of Cenn Sleibe is on my mind.
  •  212
  • The kings of them who succeeded
    Afterwards to the end of the world,

    Whoever wrote them, there is no difficulty 300 here,
    The name of each king of them I will relate.
  • Amlaib, the two Tadgs without reproach,
    Three Domnalls, Lochlainn, Aed the Pale,
    Ruaidri, Art, I enumerate them constantly,
    Muircertach and two Cathals;
  • Aed of the fort, manly Geoffrey,
    Of the seed of the White-foot of Lemain,
    Domnall, Donnchad, Murchad the stutterer,
    Fergal the slaughterous, Aed the Short.
  • Aed the Short of Leim an Leith
    Who will succeed to Breifne at the last,
    When the band is near destruction,
    And when Flann Cithach (the showery) is king of Ireland.
  • Here without falsehood, without omission,
    Are the kings of Breifne, the seed of Fergna,
    Who owe dues to beauteous Maedoc,
    As the story relates.
  •  213
  • Here are the dues of Maedoc of the relics
    From the seed of Fergna, and from Aed Finn,
    From the men of Saidbre 301 of the bridles,
    And from the assemblies of Oriel.
  • The horse, the robes, of every gracious king,
    A wether, a pig, an ox, a vat,
    To be levied of them without neglect,
    (And) paid once a year.
  • A cow from every stead, it is not wrong,
    A scruple from every hearth,
    To be first in entertainment and fair banquet,
    To be first in welcome and bath.
  • If the seed of Fergna refuse the dues,
    Destruction and loss will come upon them,
    They will have no power over any one in the world,
    For the power 302 of the Creator is against them.
  •  p.248
  • He is bound to exact (the dues of) the flock
    Whoever is a monk of Maedoc;
    The four related ones who obtained this (duty)
    Will be without descendants thereafter 303.
  • Cele and Aedan of Ferns,
    With them is the half of the men and of the work,
    The other half without pity 304
    (Belongs) to Faircellach and Fergus.
  • If they omit altogether
    To demand the dues through neglect,
    The church of God will be blemished,
    And the land will be unfruitful.
  • There are three things which destroy Breifne,
    Their mutual jealousy of one another,
    Opposition to lofty Cruachan of the horses,
    And the carelessness of their clerks.
  •  214
  • The four to whom he entrusted his right,
    They were with him in Rome,

    The ship-mates of the son of Sétna on his journey,
    To whom he gave his inheritance after his death.
  • Each one of them is bound
    To be on equality with the family,
    They are all of them of equal honour,
    As the high saint ordained.
  • When through dispute are refused
    The dues of Maedoc and his family,
    He will not answer the host of Lemain, 305
    The seed of Fergna will be disgraced.
  • Its territory will be a prey 306 of raiding bands,
    Men will divide 307 Breifne;
    'Tis against them that the wrath of God of heaven rises,
    Their right over Cruachan is trampled under foot.
  • I declare, not secret is the judgement,
    He brought witness from the Creator,
    That there is no help for the men,
    There is only one place for them.
  • The heads of the tribes and dwellings fast
    In Rossinver of the Angels
    At the feast of Maedoc, a vow without grief,
    For it is from it comes their great profit.
  •  p.249
  • The fair saints from the East entreat
    (Him) to come to help them,
    They entreat for struggles without prohibition
    The red ox of Devenish (i.e. Molaise).
  • No deed is dared in the land of battles,
    Till dominion shall come to their tribe;
    To trespass grievously on their land.
    No foreign host may dare.
  • I am Ultan of Ard-bile,
    My soul is allied with the King of heaven,
    I am a poet, a prophet, as is known,
    And hence I make known the story.
    The story.
  •  lxxi

    Thus, moreover, did the saints, Columcille and Caillin, ordain the dues of Maedoc from the Úi Briuin and from the men of Leinster, to be divided between his churches and coarbs, viz. Drumlane, Rossinver, and Ferns, for Maedoc was a favourite and faithful foster-child of Caillin, and he was an ally and friend of Columcille likewise, and therefore they ordained that the dues of Maedoc should be divided between his three churches. A third of the dues levied in Úi Briuin to Drumlane, and two-thirds to Rossinver and Ferns. Two-thirds of the dues of Leinster 308 to Drumlane and Rossinver [and one-third to Ferns309]. The family of Drumlane are not bound to deliver the dues levied here 310 to Ferns, but the family of Ferns are bound to deliver the dues levied by them to Drumlane; for Maedoc left it as an obligation on the family of Cele and the family of Aedan to deliver these dues to Drumlane, with destruction of tribe, and reproach and disgrace to them from every one unless they so delivered them.


    This is the enumeration of Maedoc's dues from Leinster; the suit of the king of Leinster the day he is made king, except his silk shirt and his one spear, and one of his shoes full of silver; and the successor of Aed son of Sétna to go three times round about him. And if he or his successor shall place the wand (of office) in the hand of the king, he will be pre-eminent in strength and valour. The king himself and his following both small and great are bound to make large offerings 311; and the chiefs of Leinster are bound to pay a third of the amount payable by the king. And all these dues are to be delivered into the hands of the coarbs, O Farrelly and O Fergus, to be divided as they shall please, for no one has any right to dispose of it except as they shall ordain.


    And it was to make clear and certain the division of these dues among the coarbs that this lay was made

  • The division made by Maedoc, 'twas a great matter.
    As the patron saint ordained,
    Among his churches duly
    Of his tribute dues forthwith.
  • It has been shown to me
    At (the church of) Maedoc of Drumlane;
    Three complete churches without blemish,
    In Leinster and in the centre of Connaught.
  • Maedoc's great Ferns, without deceit,
    In the border of Leinster of full size; 312
    Drumlane, it is a fair possession,
    It is the sacred city of Connaught.
  • Rossinver or Cuillin na bFer,
    Which is nobler than any habitation;
    Port na fFinnlec, beyond any other soil;
    'Tis there Maedoc was buried.
  • Maedoc himself made the division
    Between the three churches that I sing of;
    The division of his tribute and dues,
    It was a proper worthy division.
  • Columcille and fair Caillin,
    The two high saints ordained
    That the division of the tribute dues without fault
    Should be made in Drumlane.
  •  205bColumcille ordained
    For Aed óc, a prophet of righteousness,
    A division of the tribute dues which he fashioned
    Equally between his churches.
  •  218
  • The tribute of Leinster to Ferns of the banquets,
    The day the king of Leinster is crowned
    (Is) the suit of the provincial king by his permission,
    And his shoe full of silver.
  • To the king of Cruachan this is due,
    When he is crowned in Connaught,
    That the successor of Maedoc without treachery
    Should go thrice around him.
  •  p.251
  • To the successor of the son of Sétna
    Belongs this good fee which I shall tell of,
    The robes of the king of Connaught of the battles,
    Except his silk shirt and one spear.
  • Offerings on the day the king is made
    From his descendants, from his seed,
    Both old and young owe them
    To Maedoc's honourable successor.
  • The battalion of Aed Finn together,
    Whoever of them succeeds to the kingship,
    Let them not seek for the wands (to be placed) in their hands
    Except by the successor of Maedoc.
  • If the servant of Maedoc place
    The royal wand in the hand of the king,
    He will be victorious in every fray,
    The hosts themselves agreeing to it.
  • Another strength like to this
    Belongs to every king of Leinster
    Throughout the fair lands of his own border,
    If Maedoc be propitious.
  •  219
  • A third of is tribute and dues
    Maedoc the modest ordained
    To glorious Drumlane
    In which Aed made his abode.
  • Another third of the tribute without loss
    To Cuillin na fFer n-Álainn,
    Maedoc gave as chartered right 313,
    To his fair cemetery. 314
  • A third of every tribute levied here,
    Ferns evidently claims
    As its portion from the northern quarter,
    But without its being once delivered (there).
  • Two-thirds of Ferns own tribute
    Is to go by the command of the righteous one
    To Drumlane without hindrance,
    And they themselves are to deliver it.
  • Cele and Aedan without reproach
    Ordained its delivery;
    If they deliver it not, without doubt
    They earn the curse of Maedoc.
  •  p.252
  •  206aThe high town of Maedoc, it is this
    Which is the object of the journey of every guest
    Drumlane, an abode with flocks.
    In the time of hospitable Maedoc.
  • If it be with Maedoc of the banquets,
    As Cashel was with them 315 for a time (?),
    They will not desert great Drumlane
    For any good 316 in the world, however great.
  • Three vats, this is due by law,
    With the taste of honey on each vat,
    To the successor of Aed in time of feasting (lit. drinking),
    And to Rossinver as an honour. 317
  •  200
  • Three high churches without blemish
    Has Aed for an abode;
    He gave the headship of the other churches
    To Rossinver in particular.
  • Rossinver great Aed never failed
    For prayer or for witness,
    (Seeing that his body and remains are there,)
    To tend it and to help.
  • Aed óc gave for ever
    Headship most noble and complete,
    The control and dues of his churches
    Jointly to Rossinver.
  • There is in his church in which we are,
    A book of the high saints of Erin,
    Histories of each saint of them without defect,
    And histories of the churches to match them.
  • Whatever (else) may not be read by me
    Of the books of the high saints of Erin,
    I read with delight without vow,
    The book of Molaise and Maedoc.
  • The book of Maedoc of the fair form,
    For sure love and for covenant
    By me it ought not to be neglected,
    It is read by me very frequently.
  • Gilla Mochuda, as I am called
    By the learned, that is my eke-name;
    Among the churches of Maedoc without delay
    By me of the tribute is made the division.
    The division.
  •  p.253

    These are the decisions of Maedoc according to Gilla Mochuda O Cassidy the knowing and truly learned sage, as he found them written by the high saint without error or deviation (from the truth), that is, his judgements between his honourable and equally great churches and the battalion of Aed Finn with their noble kings, with their strong generous chiefs, with their farmers and hospitallers; namely, that they should honour his churches and his clergy, his relics and his rich insignia 318, his sanctuaries and strong privileges, and never reject his relics or his stewards,  206b or swear falsely by his relics. And whoever should do this, Maedoc with his clergy and congregation decided that prayer should be made for him, that he might be delivered from the dreadful pains of hell. And that what ever king or lord should fulfil (these duties) to Maedoc, should not be excommunicated except for three causes: outraging his churches, diminishing the honour of his coarbs, and encroaching on his estate and land.


    And it was to make these things clear that the author, Gilla Mochuda, composed the lay:

  • The decisions of gentle Maedoc,
    Are ye minded that they be enumerated to you,
    renowned host of the men of Breifne?
    Take from them your instruction.
  • This is the first instruction which he gives,
    Listen to Maedoc the patron-saint;
    (Do) the will of his clerics without default,
    (And) swear not falsely by his high relics.
  • As counsel to his own clergy,
    Maedoc the fair, the smooth-skinned, gave
    That they should pray continually for the battalion of Aed Finn
    That they may avoid the pains of hell.
  • If the pure prayer be purchased
    From the devout clergy of the choirs;
    Unless they make amends for it,
    Death and hell are near them.
  • The decisions of the son of Sétna,
    I know them beyond contradiction,
    Everything that I have to mention pleasantly
    As to tribe or high church.
  •  p.254
  • On whatever place they shall leave,
    The clergy of Maedoc, an utter curse,
    Ill for that place and its inhabitants
    To be 319 without grace or great sanctity.
  •  222
  • The decisions of great Maedoc,
    O just battalion of Aed Finn,
    Listen to the reading of them exactly,
    And let each obey after hearing them.
  • The same judgements without fault
    He ordained by testament,
    That they might be mutually remembered
    By noble kings and chiefs.
  • Not to enserf his church,
    To protect greatly his students,
    To maintain his privilege exactly,
    Thus his blessing is gained.
  • Something more will we show forth
    Of the decision of Maedoc of the melodious mouth,

    As to every one whom he purely baptized,
    While I mention the rights of Drumlane.
  • The cause for which this is said,
    The decisions and the judgements
    To stand between the two parties,
    And the saint to give them impartially.
  • Over the men of Breifne, as is right,
    To save them from the wrath of the Creator,  320
    In Drumlane, on his own sacred soil,
    Gentle Maedoc is judge.
  • Their kings not to be excommunicated
    Till doom except for three actions,
    So did Maedoc approve in his fair church,
    On his sacred land, in Rossinver.
  •  223
  • Thus did Maedoc enjoin his steward:
    Whoever shall be guilty of these three deeds,
    Shall be without joy in his reign,
    If he incur excommunication.
  • One of them (is this): should there be made
    By heir apparent or actual king
    Encroachment on his estate or land
    Against the family of Maedoc for ever.
  •  p.255
  • (The second case) the suffering of outrage by his church
    At the hands of a powerful man without grace of justice;
    This will be the end of him,
    His own act will excommunicate him.
  • This is the third of the cases, which is not weak,
    The forgetting of his successor;
    If he do not receive his due honour,
    Maedoc's judgement is that he (the offender) be excommunicated.
  • Driving of his cattle or stock,
    Theft or purloining which he did not notice,
    Save only dreadful theft of his men,
    Are not a ground for excommunicating kings.
  • These are the wonted matters
    Forbidden by the judge of doom
    To the kings of the battalion of Aed Finn
    To be heard in his high church.
  •  224
  • Long life, (and) utmost grace
    In respect of each thing we have mentioned
    The son of Sétna conferred, a prosperous course,
    As a reward for protecting his churches.
  • Every son of a king who shall maintain this
    Shall equal any king of the succession,
    Let him avoid the depth of guilt,
    (Which he will not do) unless the church increase.
  • His posterity and the gracious kings,
    His chiefs of tribes 321, his descendants
    Throughout the host of manly liberal Aed,
    Will magnify the towns of gentle Maedoc.
  • They will do every good to his fair church.
    And to his clerks after the saint, 207b
    Maedoc will give in return
    Hymns, orders (of service), and Masses.
  • Intercession for every man together
    Is obtained in accordance with his alliance
    By every one who says the hours on his soil,
    According to the judgement of Maedoc.
  • These are the judgements of the son of Sétna,
    Woe to the man of Breifne who denies them,
    (Who) does not pay him his dues in turn,
    Before the day of the decisions comes.
  •  p.256
  • No other name am I called by
    Than Gilla Mochuda of the saints;
    Molaise and Maedoc in turn,
    Habitually do I read their decisions.
    The decisions.
  •  lxxii

    Once when Maedoc was at Ferns at the end of his time, the angel of the Lord revealed to him that the term of his days and the end of his life was now approaching and drawing nigh, and bade him go to the place of his resurrection, and to the site of his burial, and to leave his churches and noble 'annoits', and his chosen sanctuaries, to their native gentry and to their proper heirs after him. Maedoc did so. He left Ferns and its lands under the authority of Cele and Aedan, and with their race and descendants, together with the perpetual obligation of levying and collecting the tribute dues of Leinster, and of dividing them impartially among his churches and coarbs, as we said above.


    He went thence to Drumlane, and did the same in that church. He left the headship and coarbship of that church with Urcain, son of Oilill, who was called Faircellach. Maedoc had baptized this man, Urcain, and given him the name of Faircellach; for these were the two first attendants that Maedoc had, viz. Faircellach and Fergus, two sons of Oilill, &c. And Maedoc never received gold or silver, riches or raiment, tribute or fair offering or any single thing which he did not straightway give away till it was all distributed to the poor of the Lord, and God's feeble folk, and to musicians and players, and  208a men of (poetic) science, in charity and humanity to protect his honour, nobility, and worth.


    For in addition to the other distinguished three whom we mentioned, Molaise, Caillin, and Ultan, these were his four companions at Rome, viz. Cele and Aedan of Ferns, Faircellach and Fergus of Drumlane and Cuillin na fFer (Rossinver), and it was on this account that he left his inheritance to them after his death, and to their heirs in succession. Maedoc then left Faircellach in his room in Drumlane, and delivered the place with its property and great riches into his authority and power, and to his seed and descendants thenceforth and for ever. He left further grace and prosperity to his race and posterity if only they are obedient to Maedoc. He left his blessing on the place, and bade farewell to it afterwards.


    He then went to Rossinver, to the sod of his burial and resurrection. He took with him Fergus, son of Oilill, son of Eiten, his own dear faithful foster-child and equal-aged companion. He placed the erenaghship and high headship of the place under his judgement and warranty, and under the authority of his tribe and true descendants till the day of doom. He left grace of riches  p.257 and entertainment, grace of liberality and large hospitality, grace of learning and intellect to his successor after him, and to the place permanently, if only they are submissive and respectful to Maedoc. Maedoc then was some time in Rossinver on this wise, waiting for his death and departure, since the angel had revealed to him that the end of his life and of his length of days was approaching.


    He sent a messenger in haste to Kildallan to fetch Dallan Forgall to be 322 witness to his (testamentary) disposition and will in respect of his relics and high insignia, 323 and to the binding of his tribute and dues on the battalion of Aed Finn and on other families besides; for this man Dallan was a poet, a prophet, and a true saint; and moreover he was a favourite and faithful ally, a companion and friend of Maedoc,  208b to say nothing of their relationship to one another, for Dallan and Maedoc were children of two brothers; to wit, Maedoc son of Sétna, son of Erc, &c., and Dallan son of Colla, son of Erc, &c. For these reasons Dallan came at the summons of the heavenly intensely devout saint, and elect compassionate cleric, to Rossinver where Maedoc was, and was with him for some time while he made known his disposition and will, and divided his bells and fair bachalls, and his glorious wonder-working relics, among his churches and chief cells, and further finally made known to Dallan the tribute due to him from (various) races, just as he had related and told to Ultan of Ardbreckan, who made a poetical explanation of it, in order to compose and adorn (the account of) it at the bidding of the patron and high saint and virgin bishop, for the man Ultan was a prophet and a poet.


    The following is the origin of the tribute due to Maedoc from the Uí Briuin and people of Breifne, namely because of the baptism and blessing of Aed Dub at Ath Airm, as we said above ( Sect. 41). And Maedoc made known to Dallan everything that Aed Finn promised and bound upon his race and descendants, as he had made it known to Ultan previously; that is, the horse and robes of the king of Breifne on his coronation day, a scruple from every hearth, a cow in every stead, an ox from every raid, a pig from every sty, a sheep from every flock; a baptism groat every year from each one of his family, and an offering on every feast of Maedoc; a foal from every stud, three vats of ale with the taste of honey in the ale to Rossinver every year. The family of Maedoc to be the first to be seated in the banquet hall, to have the first greeting and bath, the first taste of every drinking horn, a seat on one side of every king and every chief; all to rise up before them or before any of his relics whenever they meet them,  209a indoors or out.


    The same tribute-dues are payable by Oriel and Fermanagh alike on account of the restoration to life of Daimin Damargait. “These then are the bequests that I make of my relics,” said Maedoc to Dallan. “The first bequest of them then is the staff of Brandub”, with which he had raised to life Brandub the son of Eochaid,&c., the high king of Leinster. “I leave this to Ferns, my privileged monastery and high see. among the heroes of Leinster.”


    “I further leave the bell of the brooch and the bell of the hours to Drumlane, together with the other illustrious and potent relic, namely my beautiful wonder-working reliquary, which travelled with me to every place, in which are relics of the saints and patriarchs, namely relics of the martyr Stephen, and Lawrence, and Clement, the ankle of Martin, and some of the hair of the Virgin Mary, and many other relics 324 of 325 saints and holy virgins besides, which had been divided with variegated arrangement between the Brec and the reliquary: and this is why the name Brec (variegated) was given to it, because of the variegated arrangement together of the relics of the saints and virgins which had been united and made fast in it, after being collected and gathered together from the bosom of marvellous Molaise on the corner of Maedoc's mantle 326, as the Life of Molaise relates.”


    “I leave then the three other glorious and famous relics, the Brec, the white bachall, and the Mac Ratha (son of grace), to Rossinver 327, that is Rossinver of the Angels, the place to which I bequeath my own relics and remains till the day of doom, with angels to guard them in high honour. And the reason why I decree my burial in this place, Rossinver, with my honourable relics around me, is because of the vast woods and deserts 328 which are round about it on every side, and will be till doom; so that there will be my body and my beauteous remains, and my marvellous relics with me, avenging  209b wrong and injustice on those who persecute and dishonour me, and rescuing and protecting those who obey and honour me, who fast and use abstinence for me, and all who make choice (of burial) in my church. Death and loss, diminution of kingship and rule, short life and finally hell to the descendants of Aed Finn if they forsake my services and my rights, and if they omit to be buried in my church.”.


    “And, O Dallan,” said Maedoc, “thou art going now; take eastwards with thee my special blessing to the men of Breifne, for they have ever protected and supported my church and coarbs, and  p.259 will do so, and have never repulsed servant or erenagh of mine in respect of clothing, or food, or fixed contributions, and never attacked the obedience and reverence due to me in any matter, and thus will they do till doom, that is the descendants of Maelmorda son of Cernachan, son of Dub Dothra, the active royal race of the O Reillys, and may the mighty Christ be gracious to their seed and descendants. My earnest blessing also on the seed of Dunchad (Tullyhunco), for they did my will most loyally at all times, and so will they do continually henceforth. ”


    “Take also my blessing to the proud house of Eochaid (Tullylaw), for they right often did my will, and among them is the sod of my birth and famed conception, to wit, the eminent Inis Brecmaighe on Magh Slecht to speak precisely. Once more my sevenfold 329 blessing to the men of Breifne, O Dallan, said he, both high and low, both king and great man, both few and many, for they, beyond any other race, never earned my curse or my reproach, and though they will never now see my body any more, they will see my mighty works and my miracles protecting them henceforth.”.


    Dallan then was sorrowful, sad, and melancholy, at bidding farewell to Maedoc on that spot; it was moreover like the separation of a woman from her son, or of a cow from her calf, or a bitch from her whelps, or a duck from her pool, the parting of them from one another at that time. Maedoc said: There is only one year left of my life, said he, and at the end of the year be thou here with the thrice fifty other saints who will be by me at the time of  210a my death to fight against demons and vices, and to be present at my burial here.


    Thus he spoke, and he made the following poem to make clear his disposition and will, to record his tribute-dues for Dallan in the last place, as he had recorded them for each other person hitherto, and said:

  • Melodious is the testament that is mentioned by us
    For my three churches which I do not conceal,
    Great Ferns, my church without concealment,
    Drumlane, and Rossinver;
  • In Rossinver in which we are,
    (That is) in Cuillin na fFer n-Álaind,
    The place where my unforgotten (?) body will be,
    In this haven at last.
  • I am Maedoc who make the testament,
    To whom God granted without displeasure
    And to the battalion of pitiless Aed Finn,
    That I should carry them with me to judgement.
  •  p.260
  • The battalion of Aed Finn, West and East,
    Heaven from me to their souls,
    To each one of them who is buried
    In Drumlane or Rossinver.
  • Their chiefs, their families, their hosts,
    And their victorious princes,
    All of them that go duly under my soil,
    I will take with me to the heaven of holy right. 330
  •  238
  • To the men of Fermanagh on the east side,
    According to the bond of my covenant,
    If they are buried in my fair church,
    Heaven to their soul without flaw. 331
  • To the Leinstermen distinctly now
    I grant heaven clearly,
    If all of them be buried
    In Ferns under my true intercession.
  • (If) the men of Connaught and of Leinster distinctly
    Pay this duly 332 to my clergy,
    They shall have heaven from me for ever without deprivation,
    To every one as recompense.
  • From Erne to pleasant Shannon
    Is the district of my tribute round about,
    From the king of Cruachan is due to me
    His horse and his robes together.
  • There is shown by me exactly the offering
    Due from every one to my high relic
    Every year, it is no mistake,
    And the demanding of it from every landowner.
  • The ground of my dues and tribute
    From the race of warlike Aed Finn
    (Is) because of Aed's baptism at Ath Airm,
    Whence the eke-name Aed Finn became attached (to him).
  • His families and hosts will pay
    My tribute victoriously every year;

    And I will bear to yonder heaven
    All who fulfil this.
  •  239
  • Intelligent knowledge of my tribute
    I will convey accurately to my clergy;
    To levy it on the territory
    Of every high king they are bound.
  •  p.261
  • For the coarbs of my fair churches
    As an honour (to me) above any other saint
    Beyond all men of the men of Fail (Ireland),
    If they were all gathered in one assembly.
  • Constant precedence in sitting down,
    The shoulder 333 of every good king,
    Precedence in entertainment and fair banquet,
    Precedence in welcome and bath.
  • A cow from every stead I declare to you,
    And a scruple from every hearth
    As my tribute from Aed Finn's battalion,
    Together with obedience and reverence.
  • A horse and robes, clear is their payment,
    On the day of the making of every good king,
    A further addition is due from them,
    An ox, a pig, a wether, without deceit.
  •  240
  • Three vats, as is shown by me,
    And the portion of my tribute in general
    From the kings of Aed Finn's battalion
    To this Rossinver where I am. 334
  • A baptism groat every year
    From each one according to rule,
    And another offering from each man
    At the feast of Maedoc particularly.
  • A pig from every sty — a speech without fraud —
    A sheep from every choice flock,
    A foal from each stud without remission 335
    From Knocklane to Kells.
  • At sight of my dear relics
    By the race of noble Aed Finn,
    For the sake of my intercession without prohibition,
    Let them all arise to meet them.
  • (If) they pay my tribute every hallowtide,
    The race of Aed Finn son of Fergna,
    I will give to them — —'tis an effectual act —
    Heaven, and power to every good king.
  •  241
  • The same tribute precisely
    Is due from Oriel also;
    The equipment of the king of Oriel gloriously,
    His horse and robes completely.
  •  p.262
  • My covenanted tribute and my dues
    From Fermanagh — the better the business —
    Disgrace, if they pay it not,
    On their seven tribes till doom.
  • My seven relics — 'tis a victorious force —
    I will enounce their names,
    The Brec, the white bachall,
    And the perfect bachall of Brandub.
  •  211aThe fourth relic of them
    (Is) the smooth pre-eminent reliquary,
    In which is the noble hoard,
    A portion of the relics of the high saints.
  • The fifth of them (is) the Mac Ratha,
    Which is in my hand at home and abroad,
    The bell of the hours, the bell of the brooch,
    Which is under my mantle on every path.
  •  242
  • The division of these relics of mine without neglect
    I will make, O Dallan Forgall;
    Caillin ordained it with intelligence,
    And Columcille the smooth-skinned.
  • I leave my Brec with greatness 336 of deed
    To Cuillin na fFer nÁlainn,
    And my reliquary, as I declare,
    To delightful Drumlane.
  • I leave the bachall of Brandub
    To hospitable almsgiving Ferns,
    To receive my tribute without default
    From the warriors of Leinster till doom.
  • A good part of my other relics,
    I leave them for excommunication,
    The bell of the hours, and the bell of the brooch,
    Which will be for excommunication in the same way,
    These two bells that we speak of
    I leave) in Drumlane, my high church.
  • I leave further the white bachall
    Which I have in my possession,
    In this church in which is my body,
    In Rossinver of the angels.
  •  p.263
  • I leave then the Mac Ratha,
    Which is in my hand every single day,
    Above my sepulchre in the venerable church,
    In Rossinver as an honour.
  •  243
  • It is for this that I leave the Brec
    And my body in Port na bFinnlec (Rossinver),
    Because of the little conscience of all
    Who are around it on every side.
  • Whoever of them shall fast to me 337
    In Rossinver of the Masses,
    I will give in return without loss
    Strength and obedience, and reverence;
  • Grace of increase, preservation of stock,
    Long life, and essential grace,
    On the famous family of Aed Finn,
    If they fast in the high church.
  • (If) Aed Finn's battalion be all
    Assembled to entreat me earnestly,
    I will give holy heaven in return
    To each one everlastingly.
  • Whoever shall not make choice of my church, 338
    Of the battalion of manly Aed Finn,
    He will be short-lived in his possession, 339
    He will have hell without doubt.
  •  244
  •  211bTake my blessing with thee 340 eastwards,
    O Dallan, to the men of Breifne;
    'Tis to them I entrust my fair church,
    Both men and cattle.
  • They never refused a monk of mine
    In my lifetime clothing or food;
    There never was heard by beloved man
    My rejection (?) by one of their princes.
  • Thus will they do for ever,
    The family of Maelmorda above all,
    So that Christ may be ever 341 gracious
    To their seed and descendants.
  • My blessing on the descendants of Dunchad, 342
    On the pleasant friendly band,
    Their society we have torsaken,
    More beautiful the habitation to which I go.
  •  p.264
  • Blessing on the house of Eochaid 343
    The hardy plundering host,
    They have as sod of possession
    The well-known sod of my birth.
  • My blessing to seven times seven,
    Dallan, carry them with thee
    Eastwards to all the men of Breifne,
    Both kings and great men.
  • They never earned my curse,
    But submitted to my churches;
    Though they will not see my fair body,
    My mighty deeds will remain after me while they live.
  •  245
  • Whoever shall magnify Drumlane
    A testament which is right to be remembered —
    I will magnify his name in heaven
    With honour and reverence.
  • Let them not move away from me,
    Let them always make their choice with me,
    Both men and children and women,
    (This is) the last (part) of this testament.
  • Every one of Aed Finn's battalion
    Who shall forsake me, O Dallan Forgall,
    I will forsake irrevocably the protection of them
    In the day of the meeting of the three assemblies.
  • Ten and thrice fifty saints,
    Thou shalt be with them, O Dallan, by my side;
    From to-day there is no day more
    Than one year of my life.
  • The foundation of this testament I declare,
    I will take to heaven with sanctity
    The folk who choose me, 344 though they may seem to us many,
    Where the truly melodious voice shall be.
  • Aed son of Sétna, 'tis I who say it,
    This poetical testament is certain,
    In Rossinver in which we are.
    In a spot (lit. bed) joyous and smoothly melodious.
  •  lxxiii

    Dallan bade farewell to Maedoc on the spot, and proceeded  212a to his own place, Kildallan, 345 and was there till the end of the year approached of which Maedoc had spoken to him. And he was  p.265 waiting for a reliable message to be brought to him 346 from the true saint. Maedoc sent a hasty message to Dallan, and to all the saints and other patriarchs who were not on the spot, that they should come together in view of the death of the true saint and righteous man. They therefore gathered and assembled from every quarter in which they were, and came to Maedoc at Rossinver. When they came together, Maedoc was preparing himself to meet his death.


    He bequeathed, moreover, in presence of his seniors and congregations, grace, and riches, and prosperity, to every church and to every tribe which should protect and support his churches and coarbs, his men and his feeble folk; and further in every place in which his Life and lasting histories are read, or fully written for ever; and every king and every prince to whom his life is read completely after his crowning, shall never be dethroned after that.


    So then, after Maedoc had built and honoured many and various cells and fair churches, after doing wondrous great miracles, after raising the dead, healing the blind, the crippled, and the lame, after succouring the lepers, the weak and feeble, and helpless folk, after driving out idols and images, and unbelievers in the Lord, after lifting up the widows and believers in Jesus in every place, after putting down famine and hard hunger in every 'annoit' and every abode which he served; after healing folk of every affliction and every heavy disease who came to him in the name of the Trinity, the last day of his age and time drew near, as his guardian and assisting angel revealed to him. There came ten and thrice fifty saints and holy virgins to the scene of his death and departure, and he received the Communion and sacrifice from them afterwards severally and jointly; and he sent his spirit to heaven among the saints and holy angels, after conquering the world and the devil, on the last day of January precisely.


     212bThere came then wondrous great hosts of angels to meet him, and to convoy his soul with melodious songs, and marvellous sweet organs, and musical and moving cries, Maedoc was buried honourably on the spot by the angels and high saints, in accordance with his own will and disposition, in Port na bFinnlec, which is called Rossinver, with saints and holy virgins round about him there, with an innumerable multitude 347 of heavenly fresh pure angels to witness and to guard his death and burial. And so he is among the legions of virgins and angels and archangels, in the unity of apostles and high saints and disciples of the Creator, in the unity of the might and splendour of the Trinity, in the deathless life, and undecaying age, in lordship unsubdued, in never-ending honour, in dominion without  p.266 limit, in the excellent presence of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, and for ages of ages. So this is a fragment of the life of Maedoc up to this point while he was alive. 348


    There are many miracles which God wrought for Maedoc in his lifetime which are not enumerated here, from a desire 349 to avoid and shun tediousness. But from that time forth great miracles have been wrought and yet are wrought on the earth at his relics, and they will continue to be wrought till the day of doom, as is clear from the following story. 350


    There was a man 351 in Rome who was paralysed, and he was a man of substance and great power. He sought for help and healing in many places, and found them not. Many men said to him that there was in Ireland a holy man of noble manners, named Maedoc, and that he would be certain to receive health if he went to him, for he had received abundant gifts from the Trinity.


    The man therefore came to Ireland, and it was just at the time of Maedoc's death.  213a However, he was persuaded in his own mind on the ground of Maedoc's sanctity, that his illness would be repelled, if he visited and handled the body of the cleric. He was shown the way to Rossinver, where the body and beauteous relics of the righteous patron saint were. He went therefore to the place where the body was at that time, and asked permission of those who were guarding it to prostrate himself and handle it in honour of the mighty Lord. He obtained the permission asked for, and handled the body forthwith, and thereupon obtained complete restoration of his health in the presence of all generally, and went whole to his territory and fair land with joy and great gladness. And the name, &c.


    There was another man in the district of Leinster named Finan Lobar (the Leper), who had been diseased for thirty years. He saw a vision on the eve of Maedoc's festival on another occasion. He thought he saw a chariot coming to the church of Ferns, and two persons in the chariot; one a venerable and very holy cleric with the fair radiance of the Deity on his countenance and dress, and a virgin of excellent beauty with him, and they did reverence to one another, as a servant would to his lord.


    Finan inquired of them. The cleric answered him, and said: “The beauteous and blessed virgin yonder”, said he, “is the virgin Brigit, the patroness of the Irish, and I am Maedoc of Ferns,” said he, “the slave and own servant of the Creator. And to-morrow is my festival, and the day after to-morrow is the festival of yonder virgin. And we have come on purpose to bless every one who shall  p.267 honour the days and festivals of our earthly decease with alms and offerings. And be thou ready in anticipation of death, said Maedoc, for on the third day from this thou shalt go to heaven. ”


    Finan arose joyfully on the morrow, and his chariot was yoked for him, and he proceeded to Magh Liffe (plain of the Liffey) to the church of Brigit, Kildare; and he told his vision to all in general, and what Maedoc had said to him from first to last. Finan himself died on the third day most happily, having been healed of his bodily disease, and having triumphed over world and devil, and went to heaven.


    Another time after the death of Maedoc, Moling of Luachra was the duly appointed bishop in the church of Maedoc in Ferns. He went one night to sleep in Maedoc's bed; that is, the bed on which Maedoc was wont to perform constant fasts and genuflexions, and earnest intense devotion. However, no one since the death of Maedoc up to that time had ventured to enter it. A clerk who was in the house 352 said: O Moling, said he, hitherto no one has entered that bed since the death of our patron, by reason of the greatness of his grace and constant holiness, for it was there he used to rest after his labour and long prayers to God. Moling said: Whoever is bishop in his place, may fitly and rightly sleep in his bed.


    When Moling had said this, he was thereupon seized with a dreadful disease after lying in the bed. When he perceived this, he made earnest prayer to God for help and assistance from Him. However, his illness and heavy sickness did not depart from him therewith. Then he signed himself with the sign of the holy Cross, and called frequently on the name of Maedoc to ask his help, and his disease and sickness departed from him after that.


    Moling arose joyfully with great 353 gladness from the bed of Maedoc, and said: “It is true,” said he, “no man in the world in these days, however great his excellence and sanctity, is worthy to sleep or rest in the bed of Maedoc of the great devotion. It is then clear from this, what great favour and honour Maedoc has obtained in heaven, when God confers such honour and dignity on his relics on earth, and further on the bed on which he used to rest and repose after his prayers  214a and true devotion.”


    And it was in order to set forth all these things that we have said, that the following verses were made:

  • They remain, the mighty works of great Maedoc
    Which he received as an honour from God the Father;
    (So) that not more numerous were his mighty works in his own time
    Than to-day after (the death of) the righteous one.
  •  p.268
  • Though no longer are his fair body
    And his soul together,
    Yet there remain in abundance
    Miracles of black-browed Maedoc.
  • I have a story, which is no common story,
    About this patron saint,
    Of the honour which he obtained beyond all other men
    After his death from the Creator.
  • There happened to be a man in Rome,
    Who had a great and terrible disease;
    He found no leech to heal him,
    He was tortured with paralysis.
  • Every quarter of the world without concealment
    Was searched by him on every side;
    He did not find, even though (it seemed) a sure expedient,
    Help except in one quarter.
  • One day said to him
    A knowing man as he passed by:
    I will give thee, 'tis a cause of joy,
    Instruction to help thy sickness.
  • There is a patron saint in the west,
    In the land of the hospitable occidentals,
    Who will help thy blemish without delay;
    He is named Maedoc the marvellous.
  •  260
  • To fair-surfaced fruitful 354 Erin
    The stranger came
    From Rome, where his family resided,
    To visit the angelic righteous man.
  • (But) at the time when he arrived from his home,
    Maedoc had passed away.
    The report of the patron saint, it was a strong report,
    Was heard in every quarter of Erin.
  • On hearing of the death of great Maedoc,
    The man who had come from Rome
    Went to faultless Rossinver,
    To the cemetery of the patron saint.
  • To the watchers of the fair corpse
    He bewailed his sickness,
    Permission to handle the body freed from pain,
    As a leech to heal him, he asked.
  •  p.269
  • Permission (to touch) the noble slender corpse,
    In order to show the wondrous works of the righteous one.
    The sick man obtained, without departing thence,
    From the congregation of the church.
  • When he placed his hand on the body,
    He was completely cured,
    Without disease of foot or head, 355
    As he handled the relics of the cleric.
  •  214b
  • To his house not concealed from any one,
    As the man went back,
    Through divine and loving Maedoc,
    He was smooth and healed of wounds.
  •  261
  • There happened to be another sick man
    In Leinster once upon a time,
    After the death of fair innocent Maedoc,
    The famous Finan Lobar.
  • On the eve of Maedoc's festival there fell
    Sleep on famous Finan;
    He saw great Maedoc (coming) towards him
    Together with Brigit the virgin.
  • Maedoc the unfailing related
    An account to Finan without delay:
    We (who are) here together, it is made clear to thee,
    Are Maedoc myself and Brigit.
  • Every one who honours my festival,
    And the festival of Brigit herself,
    Honour yonder in the house of heaven
    Shall be his pre-eminently.
  •  262
  • The place in which is read, 'tis a just proceeding,
    My Life, or written accurately,
    Special grace and riches
    Shall be in that place without doubt.
  • Every king and every powerful prince,
    After being crowned without sorrow,
    If my blessed Life be read to him,
    His dethronement will be impossible.
  • The abstinent patron said,
    It sounded joyfully in Finan's ears,
    That he would die a pure death
    Meritoriously on the third day.
  •  p.270
  • He went to Kildare in his chariot
    On the morrow's morning,
    Finan, to the clergy of the church,
    To tell his vision.
  • Finan Lobar, like a clear sun,
    Went from death to life
    On the third day without sorrow,
    As mighty Maedoc had said.
  •  263
  • Moling, though he was a holy bishop
    In the place of glorious Maedoc,
    After lying down in Maedoc's bed,
    Could neither sleep nor rest.
  • In the bed of his ally
    Moling is filled with disease;
    Till he entreated Maedoc without hesitation,
    He did not receive help from God.
  • To Moling, after he had prayed to him,
    Maedoc did miracles;
    Without wound, without sickness, without pain,
    He arose from his bed.
  • Maedoc was of distinguished mien,
    Every one knows it,

    That the love of Jesus rested upon him
    Both in death and in life.
  • Though his body be in the clay in seeming,
    And angels covering it, 356
    He is no (true) man who does not understand
    That the mighty works of Maedoc remain.
    They remain.
  •  264

    Some further testimonies and descriptions of Maedoc after his death by Gilla Mochuda O'Cassidy:

  • Lofty is the son, the son of Sétna,
    Few are they who ought to refuse him,
    He never himself refused any loving man,
    And never asked anything of any man on earth.
  • Though hospitable was Columcille the prince,
    Though he never refused any, good or bad,
    I say precisely without oath,
    That Maedoc was seven times more hospitable. 357
  •  p.271
  • Maedoc never saw
    A man without clothing or food
    For his body, 'tis an act like God's,
    Whom he did not desire to help.
  • False judgements in his church
    The slender son of Sétna never gave
    In favour of a friend
    In preference to an enemy.
  • He never praised his own devotion,
    No satirist ever found fault with his charity;
    If any one performed imperfect devotion,
    He was never heard reviling him.
  • Vespers every evening,
    Mass, law, and the canonical scriptures,
    Psalms for old age, rule for the young, 358
    These were the desires of Maedoc.
  • He took not refection so speedily as others,
    (Not) till after his psalters and hours,
    As if his fair body had (already) been satisfied,
    He was not filled (with food) during that time.
  •  265
  • A further point I will declare
    Respecting the son of Sétna and Eithne,
    He whose name is mentioned by us,
    Desired hospitality in his high church.
  • What Maedoc of the relics performed
    Of devotion and cross-vigil,
    Was for the protection of his fair churches graciously,
    And his payers of tribute and dues.
  • The high churches of Maedoc are these,
    Drumlane and Ferns,
    And virginal Rossinver,
    Heaven to every one who shall honour them.
  • Good the patron saint of whom these tales (are told),
    Maedoc of the words of power; 215b
    And good the noble blood of which he is,
    (And) good his dwelling for a guest.
  • Generous to us the son of Eithne;
    Steadfast his intelligence, exact his thought;
    Welcome the humane man who is steadfast of belief,
    The just prince of patience.
  •  p.272
  • Maedoc making no account of treasures,
    Beauteous cheerful countenance,
    No perverted pleading was ever in his mouth,
    A sage believing, shamefast, strong.
  • If the nobles of Erin understood
    His good judgements and his good learning,
    Honour would be rendered by old and young
    To the sweet words of Maedoc.
  • Let not his own host forget
    The words of Maedoc and his history,
    His rules, his laws, and his work,
    Genuine 359 words to show them forth.
  • Let the clans of Niall 360 submit without hesitation,
    And the fair kings of Connaught;
    Let his tribute which has been imposed be paid
    To the patron saint so holy 361 and lofty  362.
  •  266
  • The history 363 of Maedoc we 364 remember,
    As the written story relates it,
    For every one to commit it to memory
    Up to the well-known root of his genealogy.
  • Maedoc son of Sétna, of royal race,
    Repelled its dissension from Erin;
    It was Colla Úais from whom the saint sprang;
    To Úais there was no misfortune on account of his relationship. 365
  • Son of Sétna, it is no crooked road,
    His genealogy is plain before me,
    Son of manly vigorous Erc,
    Son of Feradach of the bright equipment,
  • Son of Fiachra of the warrior weapons,
    Son of well-aiming Amalgaid,
    Son of Muiredach, 'twas a slender seed,
    Of the western root of high kings;
  •  p.273
  • Son of Carthann of the liberal heart,
    Son of Erc, son of Eochaid of the sharp weapons,
    Whom no danger came near in contest or in action,
    Son of Colla Úais the high king.
  • A period of four years, we know it accurately,
    Was Colla Úais over Erin;
    And his kingship, while he bore it,
    Was at the head of a multitude of Irishmen.
  • The son of Sétna, Maedoc of the relics,
    Short distance is he from the supremacy of Erin,
    He himself would thus not avoid
    The tenth degree from Colla.
  • He avoided faults,
    He passed his life in virginity,
    He bartered his (earthty) power for heaven,
    He obtained 366 justice for his friends.
  •  267
  • Aed son of Sétna in his young age
    Obtained gifts from the Trinity,
    He beyond all was a virgin and a sage;
    The sheen of gold was on his teachings.
  • Another wondrous gift
    The angelic patron saint obtained,
    Hospitality unstinted for every one,
    Friendship 367 of mind and prosperity.
  • He spent, rich was his turn, 368
    In ministering to bands and billetings,
    His herds, it was an expensive process,
    In accordance with welcome 369 and entertainment.
  • A compact by which hospitality was secured,
    Maedoc the marvellous made,
    (To do) the will of all humbly,
    To give thanks for all his food.
  • He gave to the coarbs of his churches
    Bequests which never cease,
    The promise of prosperity 370 to each church,
    The promise of hospitality and bounteousness.
  •  268
  • Maedoc, though great his riches,
    His hospitality and his alms,
    After he reached his prime, it was a poor life
    Which he paid to his body out of his prosperity.
  •  p.274
  • A ladleful of barley grain, which he had each day,
    Was Maedoc's lenten portion,
    A scanty meal to the brown-headed melodious one
    Was the wafer at Mass-time.
  • Eight lents in the soft year,
    As was in the life of Patrick,
    A bridle on his body was each lent,
    Subduing the eight (deadly) sins.
  • Many hours going round crosses,
    Little sleep, back turned on pride,
    A while thus at the monument
    (Engaged) in psalms and genuflexions.
  • Great Maedoc, son of noble Sétna,
    Little of his time did he spend in idleness,
    Part of the day in teaching schools,
    Part in preaching to the people.
  •  269
  • Maedoc intended, 'twas a great promise,
    To go from Erin on pilgrimage;
    He was minded to set out for Rome
    To the abode of Paul and Peter.
  • With the crew 371 of Maedoc across the sea
    They went, four men of devotion,
    A fair band who had departed from crimes,
    Saints without pride in their natures.
  • Maedoc himself, and venerable Caillin,
    And Ultan of Ardbreckan,

    Not near his wrath to his faith,
    And his red steer 372 of Devenish.
  • When they arrived at Rome,
    They were welcomed on their appearance,
    The bells of the place rang of themselves,
    Armies which gave heed to their homage.
  • The successor of Paul and Peter,
    After judging them, the greater was the honour,
    Desired them to go without fail (lit. falling)
    To be ordained as bishops.
  • Three bishops, it was a wondrous grace,
    He made of the three mighty ones,
    Of Aed he made there a chief bishop,
    A saint under an alliance of gentle friendship.
  •  p.275
  • From the plain of heaven the Brec of Maedoc
    The illustrious patron saint received,
    And he received the bachall of Brandub
    From the beauteous starry vault.
  •  270
  • At the end of a year they take leave
    Of their companions and men of their own rule,
    To return to the country of Ireland
    From the lord of the degrees of dignity.
  • Profitable their pilgrimage to Rome
    To the four holy unblemished 373 ones,
    Lands under charter, it was a mighty result,
    Sites of churches inalienable.
  •  p.284
  • After Maedoc had crossed the sea —
    It was a famous mighty work of his —
    When he baptized Aed Dub at Ath Airm,
    Whereby he departed for every one from his first name.
  • Aed the Fair, from that day forth
    There came, by virtue of his baptism,
    The two Breifnes under the saint's authority,
    Not by way of refusal of either part.  374
  •  271
  • The Úi Cennselaig of the golden goblets,
    The Úi Briuin of the soft silken banners,
    The district of Oriel by his side as they are,
    Submit to the steward of Maedoc. 375
  • Fir Li, Fir Lemna, Fir Luirc.
    Fermanagh as far as Magh Midbuilc,
    A fair land by every plain we judge,
    (Are) a portion of the land of the chief bishop.
  • The Úi Tuirtre of the pure hills,
    The Úi mic Úais of the lands of banquets,
    The district of Fir Rois to which the saint escaped,
    Their kinship to the Úi Colla is close. 376
  • This is for him his high bishop's court,
    Great Ferns in the midst of Leinster,
    An evident portion of his dues in the south,
    In Leth Mogha, and of his service.
  •  p.276
  • The high church of the race of Aed Finn,
    Drumlane of the pleasant slopes,

    The tribe, to them it is 377 a defence,
    The cemetery of the high kings.
  • Rossinver, an abode of hospitality
    Through the grace of marvellous Maedoc,
    Consecrated there to his will,
    There is the acme of his mighty works.
  • I am Sitric Mór who tell this to you,
    Who am called by all O'Cuirnin,
    For my friends, 378 the clergy of the crosses,
    I do not compose the circle of the histories.
    The history.
  •  272
  • Woe 379 to him who shall outrage my venerable church,
    Woe to him against whom my bells utter their voice,
    Woe to him against whom my bells are rung
    Every morning and every evening.
  • Woe to the man who trespasses on my sanctuary,
    Woe to him who shall outrage my temple.
    He shall receive therefor in turn
    Short life and hell.
  • I am a fire for burning,
    I am a serpent valiant of victories,
    Sharper than any spear in its wounding
    Are my clerks, and my relics.
  • I am devout Maedoc,
    I obtained from God grace of form,
    He who rejects me shall not see
    The kingdom of heaven for ever.
  • Let my bells be rung swiftly 380
    Against the seed of Ragallach, a hindrance of battle,
    And the melodious bells of Molaise,
    And the bells of holy Feidlimid.
  • Let the bells of Molaise be rung there,
    Of Maedoc and Fainche who was not niggardly,
    Against the Ragallaig (O Reillys), an effectual course,
    To expel them from their good kingdom.
  •  p.277
  • The Ragallaig, a royal series,
    Shall not reach their illustrious kingdom,
    They shall not gain 381 rightly afterwards
    Kingship over land or assembly.
  •  273
  • I am the serpent destroying hosts,
    I am the fire of blood-red coal,
    I am the lion destroying herds,
    I am the bear in courage.
  • I am the bear, a royal course,
    I am mild(?) Maedoc;
    My robbers shall have, a strong course,
    Short life and hell.
  • I am the son of the king of great Oriel, 382
    I am a treasury of the canonical Scriptures,
    I am the saint most heavenly in respect of city,
    And noblest in respect of lofty bell.
  • Whoever they be against whom my bells are rung,
    They are destroyed and killed by them; 217b
    The voice of my sanctuary and my relics
    Places souls in hell.
  • Short lived their race and their renown,
    The folk that provoke me to jealousy,
    Heavy diseases shall befall them,
    And hell to their souls.
  • Sickness which prostrates every one,
    The voice of my bells and my clerks,
    The extinguishing of the candles of my crosses,
    And hell in the next world as their inheritance.
  • Five diseases the Son of God inflicts,
    On those whom I excommunicate or who outrage me,
    Consumption, cholera, paralysis,
    Sudden death and hell.
  • A hostile power is the curse of my relics,
    Satires 383 and excommunication and disgrace (?),
    If my clergy are weak and cautious,
    God will take vengeance on them.
  •  p.278
  • I never turned my back on hospitality,
    I am marvellous Maedoc,
    Woe to him who earns from my clergy their hostility, 384
    Woe to him and again woe.
  •  lxxviii
  • Woe 385 to the man who has as neighbour an angry saint,
    To fall out with him is (like) running up a height;
    Woe to him who is near to his dear church,
    And hears his right and would violate it.
  • Good is the saint of whom we speak,
    Great Maedoc of Drumlane,
    He went with renown on a victorious expedition
    Up to the house of the Creator.
  • When fierce Maedoc died,
    Both wall and great garden,
    The church with its horned cattle,
    Were entrusted by him to Faircellach.
  • After Faircellach died,
    The protection of the church was entrusted
    To the welcoming countenance which never refused a company,
    To the noble man, to Maelchiarain.
  • Cúduilig, short was his activity,
    After forcible Maelchiaráin;
    Three years were these two undoubtedly
    In the coarbship after one another.
  • Maelbrigde of the melodious voice,
    Concobar was his son;
    Maelbrigde 386 did not succeed to the fair church,
    But his son Concobar succeeded.
  •  275
  • In the time of Concobar, head of schools,
    After every one in Drumlane,
    Came O'Rourke with no weakly band
    To exact guesting from the high church.
  •  p.279
  •  218aThis was the number of the household of Fergal
    (Which came) to the city of elegant Maedoc,
    Thirteen good men without concealment,
    Three and three hundred men of war.
  • Three nights were they in his fair church,
    The warriors in Drumlane,
    Without destruction to young or old of them,
    And (with) Concobar to satisfy them jointly.
  • The attendance on them, though it was a hard bargain,
    Though it was ignoble for O'Farrelly,
    No man of them was without payment of his portion,
    (Was) neglected or forgotten.
  • Three hundred men took refection, methinks,
    Around Fergal king of Ireland;
    Concobar was at the will of every man
    In respect of food and drink and beds.
  • Fergal, the prince of Tara, obtained
    In the city of elegant Maedoc
    His desire from them in every house,
    Of ale and fair quilts.
  •  276
  • When they went out upon the lawn,
    Fergal the keen said:
    'Ye clergy and your wretched church,
    Maintain a troop for me from your resources.'
  • The coarb then said:
    'Seek not maintenance, O Fergal,
    If thou hast any care for strong Tara,
    From the clergy of Maedoc in his high church.'
  • 'Maintenance of a year for two hundred men,
    O Concobar, it is not false,
    From thy clerks and from thy house,
    And every one of them to be satisfied.'
  • 'To a prince like thee it is not fitting,'
    Such was the answer of Concobar,
    'To be quartering soldiers on a church,
    Since thy care is for Ireland.'
  • Though thou wert Maedoc himself,
    Said Fergal then,
    I would quarter soldiers on thy church,
    While I am king over Erin.
  •  p.280
  • 'Maintenance beyond his proper refection
    On the family of gentle 387 Maedoc
    For any one in the world
    I will not impose,' said Concobar.
  • 'Thou shalt be without cattle, and without stock,
    O Coarb, said Fergal,
    A dangerous (lit. sloping) answer hast thou given at thine house,
    If ye are determined to follow it.'
  • 'To impose a benevolence on Drumlane
    As a customary due to kings,
    I will never grant
    For any treaty of spoils, 388 or for any wealth.'
  • 'The imposition of maintenance on my race
    As dishonour or wrong,
    Such tale of me after my time
    My successor shall not tell.'
  •  277
  • Then arose and went
    O'Rourke and his household,
    They leave Drumlane without any stock,
    They carry it all to one place.
  • No compensation did they then consent (to give)
    To Maedoc or his family,
    They desired the kine permanently,
    And loved the cattle.
  • Three nights without rising from his house
    Was the coarb with his family,
    More swiftly did they reach the house of Tara
    Than O'Rourke and his great company.
  • The nobles of all Ireland,
    Both kings and great men,
    To Fergal was their promise
    (To come) to Tara to encircle it.
  • Three times, unknown to themselves,
    Widdershins round Tara then,
    The nobles went against their will,
    Being bemused by Maedoc;
    This circuit destroyed the renown
    Of Fergal O'Rourke for his crowning.
  •  p.281
  • By none of the seed of blood-stained Fergal,
    Through the vow of wondrous Maedoc,
    Was the sovereignty of Tara of the tribes
    Obtained by force or favour.
  • Abundant compensation for his plundering,
    Concobar, the coarb, received,
    Both the depriving of O'Rourke of his kingdom,
    And the exemption of his place from the billeting of soldiers.
  • Maedoc, son of pleasant noble Sétna,
    They did not earn hardship 389 from any one
    His clergy and church on this occasion;
    Woe to every one to whom he is neighbour. 390
  •  p.282

    14. Life of Mochuda

    In this Life


    Now Carthagus was of the descendants of Fergus [mac Roich,] 391 to speak particularly. His father's name was Figenius, and his mother's Med. He was dear (carthanach) to God and man, and therefore he was called Carthagus.


    An angel prophesied 392 one day to Comgall of Bangor, some years before his [Mochuda's] birth: “There will be born,” said he, “in the west of Ireland an eminent offspring, of whom the lips of men will be full both here and there. And he will come to the place in which thou shalt be, in order to go to Rome; and it is the will of Jesus that thou shalt keep him in thy company a year.”


    And there came an augury to Brendan with this prophecy when the angel parted from him, [saying:] “A child shall be born of the race of which thou art,” said he, “and many will be his miracles in heaven and on earth, and Carthagus shall be his name.” So the augury of Comgall and Brendan coincided. 393


    Now the descendants of Fergus were in Ciarraige Luachra at that time; and a general assembly of the tribe was held, and the mother of Carthagus was there; and a ball of fire came down from heaven upon her head. This ball Jesus sent to indicate the holiness of the birth that was in the woman's womb. And afterwards it went back (to heaven) again.


    The woman was delivered, and bore a son beside the river Maine; and there was no water on that hill; and a stream broke forth from the side of it. And Aidanus, [a priest,] was fetched to them, and baptized the child (with water) out of the stream, and Carthagus was given him as a name. And he was taken to Carthagus, the aged bishop, to be nurtured. My portion (mo chuidig) art thou, said the holy bishop. And hence the name Mochuda became attached to him.


    However, 394 he was called Mochuda, because his master used to call him so by reason of the great love and care which he had for him. And there are few who know him by any other name than Mochuda (lit. who know any alteration of Mochuda to be a name on him); and it is (equally) appropriate to write his name as Mochuda,  p.283 or as Carthach. Aedan said prophetically: This child whom I have baptized, will be brilliant, and will be dear to God and to men.


    And this proved true; for he was beautiful and well favoured, like David; he avoided all evil desires, like Daniel; he was gentle and compassionate, like Moses. But he was not held in honour of his father and mother, because he would not consent to their worldly views. And the saying of David was fulfilled which he spake: “My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord hath taken me up.” And as David kept his father's sheep, so Mochuda in his boyhood kept his father's swine along with the other swineherds. 395 And he would go to tend his father's swine with the other herdsmen.


    One day the herdsmen went to the king's fort, and Mochuda with them. The king loved Mochuda [when he saw him,] for he was very lovable. The queen, a daughter of Maelduin, son of Aed Bennan, asked him: “What is this love that you have to the herd-boy?” said she. “This is what appeared to me,” said the king: “a golden crown upon him, and a golden column (reaching) from his head to heaven, and a golden palace all about him, without any top to it;  151b and I loved him by reason of these signs.”


    Mochuda went with the swine through the woods of the Maine, and heard Carthagus, the aged bishop, singing his psalms; and he (Mochuda) loved the psalms greatly. And he followed the road behind the clerks, and came to the place where they were, to the monastery called Tuam. 396 The king wondered whither Mochuda had gone that night; and he sent men in pursuit of him. And he was brought to him under arrest.


    The king was at the time at a banquet at the house of Mochuda's father; and he offered Mochuda military arms. “Here,” said he, “[are arms worthy of thee,] and remain with me in the inheritance of thy father.” “I will not,” said he, “I prefer 397 the words which I heard from the clerks.” And when the king perceived that the grace of God was with Mochuda, 398 he gave him to the bishop for him to preach the word of God to him. And they were both glad thereat. And he remained with him till the bishop conferred priest's orders upon him.


    He took him with him to the place where the king was. “Here,” said he, “is the pupil thou gavest me; and he is well instructed in the Scripture. And (now) offer thyself and thy kingdom 399 to him, and to God.” “He seems to us young and immature,” said they. 400 The holy old bishop threw himself on his knees, and said: “I offer myself and my church to him,” said he. Then the king threw himself  p.284 on his knees, and offered 401 himself, men, children, and women, to God and to Mochuda. Mochuda put his foot on the king's neck, and measured the king with his feet. They wondered at his walking on the king. “The members,” (said he,) “which my foot has touched, need not fear weapons or diseases.”


    Mochuda departed thence, and built a church to the north of the Maine, and he founded another church south of the Maine in Machaire Colmain, and left (provision for) divine service in them. Then he went to Rostellan where Ciaran was, to find out from him where he should abide. Ciaran said: “An angel  154a of God came to Comgall, 402” said he, “and told him that in mid Ireland would be thy abode, in a place named Rahen, which is in Fircall. And thou wilt be sixty years there, and afterwards a monastery will be built by thee in the southern part of Ireland, and Lismore is the name of it, and there will the end of thy life come.”


    This was fulfilled; and Colman Ela prophesied the same thing, and Columcille also had foretold it previously, when he had come to Rahen and wished to settle there. But he said: “Not to me has God granted to be here, but an honourable man will come after a time, whose patrimony 403 this place will be, and his name will be Carthach, and he will be illustrious in mighty works and miracles.” And Columcille planted three rods there 404; and it was from them that Mochuda got the first materials of his church after his arrival. 405


    Once as Mochuda was praying by himself he saw a man named Magus coming to him, who said to him incredulously 406: “Bring leaves,” said he, “on to that apple-tree by thee.” He made the sign of the Cross over the apple-tree, and it was all covered with leaves. “It were more beautiful with blossom on it,” said Magus. He produced the blossom as was said to him. “It were better if it remained with apples on it (lit. if it subsisted as apples),” said Magus. He did this, and it was fully laden with apples. “It were better that they were ripe,” said Magus, “so that we may eat them.” This was fulfilled, so that they came down in a ripe shower on the ground by the apple-tree. Magus took up an apple to eat it, for they seemed to him desirable for their size and beauty; but he could not eat it by reason of its sourness. “It were better not to produce them,” (said he,) “than (to produce them with) such sourness.” Mochuda blessed them then, and they had the taste of honey. Thereupon Magus departed, and he was blinded at Mochuda's word for a year because of the incredulity 407 which he had shown in respect of him. And at the conclusion  p.285 of the year he submitted to Mochuda's judgement, and was healed of his blindness after submission and penance, and was a monk of Mochuda's as long as he lived. The name of God and of Mochuda were magnified thereby; and it was in the month of March that these things were done.


    Once a deaf and dumb boy came to Mochuda; and he entreated God for help on his behalf; and he was healed forthwith.


     154bA leprous man set out and came to Mochuda, and was afterwards made perfectly whole through the prayer of Mochuda.


    An ill-shapen man 408 came to Mochuda to bewail his misery to him. He was healed then, so that no one was shapelier than he. And he remained in his (Mochuda's) service thereafter.


    A certain miserable man came to Mochuda, who had no implements 409 of ploughing; and asked help of him. Mochuda had no such implements either, for he had neither oxen nor ploughs, 410 for it was digging that served his monks, because he would not accept worldly cattle of any one. And he bade one of his (monastic) household go to the neighbouring wood, and bring two deer to the miserable man. They did so, and they ploughed his property, and afterwards went mad. 411


    Another man came to Mochuda, who was mad, owing to a demon having entered into him. He besought Mochuda for healing; and he (Mochuda) entreated God on his behalf, and he was healed thereupon.


    Once upon a time Mochuda went to a neighbouring mill to grind the portion of the monks. There was a cruel king over the district who was bitterly hostile to Mochuda, and he sent a party to attack him. Thereupon a fiery flash appeared between them (and Mochuda), so that they could do nothing to him. They 412 went to the king and told him their story. He was furious thereat, and went himself to seek him. The same flash appeared between them and the mill. One of his attendants said: “Let us wait for him,” said he, “till he comes from his grinding, and then let him be killed.” “That is a good idea,” said every one. They waited thus till he came, and then they drew their weapons, but the weapons clave to their hands, so that they could do nothing to him. [On seeing this miracle,] they prostrated themselves before him, and entered his service, and did all his pleasure.


    Another time, when Mochuda was in Rahen, an angel came to him, and said to him: “Go to thy country,” said he, “for the  p.286 king of Ciarraige [Luachra] is at the point of death, and give him Communion and the Sacrifice, for he will die ere night.” “I shall not reach him in time,  155a unless God help me,” said he. The angel placed a fiery chariot under him, so that he reached the king in the twinkling of an eye, and ministered to him as we said, and he died in his hands, after triumphing over the world and the devil. And he (Mochuda) returned to Rahen the same day in time for the vespers of the monks (lit. and overtook the vespers, &c.).


    Once upon a time Mochuda went to Lann Eala to Colman to get him to come with him to Rahen to bless a mound and tomb for him; for God had granted it to him (Colman) that no one destined to hell should ever enter a mound blessed by him. “Go back to Rahen,” said Colman, “and I will come there on Thursday.” Colman did not come as he had promised; and Mochuda went again to seek him, and said: “Why didst thou not fulfil the promise that thou gavest?” said he. “An angel took me to bless another burial-place,” said he, “and now go to Lismore, and thou wilt find a sign that a mound and burial-place has been consecrated by angels. And let it be built and blessed by thyself, for it is there that thy resurrection shall be, and no one shall be doomed to hell if he enter therein.” He (Mochuda) did as he was bidden.


    Once while Mochuda was at Rahen, the only son of the king of Delbhna was drowned. The king entreated Mochuda to raise his heir. He had then been a day and a night under the river. Mochuda went with the king (and stood) over him (i.e. the son), and prayed God to raise the son. And he arose from the bed of the river (and came) to the place where they were. The king offered the son to Mochuda. “Let him remain and protect his kingdom,” 413 said Mochuda. And it was this son that was king of Delbhna after his father, and his children after him.


    Now Mochuda was the comeliest man of his time. Thirty maidens loved him so passionately that they could not conceal it. This was grievous to Mochuda, and he prayed God to turn this love into a spiritual love, and He did so. And Mochuda made nuns of 414 these maidens, and they were serving God till they died.


    One day Mochuda went to Kerrycurrihy, and found there in the district Corc, the king of Munster.  155b There fell a fiery ball from the air, and killed the wife and son of the king, and two of his chariot horses. The king entreated Mochuda to raise them; and he did so with the grace of God.


    There was a king of this district, blind and dumb; and Mochuda healed (lit. helped) him.


    There was another man in it, suffering from an inflammatory disease. And Mochuda put his girdle across him, and he found relief at once. And Mochuda remained a year in this district after receiving large alms from the king. And he returned to Rahen.


    One day as Mochuda was crossing a ford on the Owenmore (Munster Blackwater), he found an apple on the water and took it. Now the king of Fermoy had a daughter who was maimed, paralysed in one arm, her right arm being fixed to her side. And Mochuda took the apple with him to the place where the maiden was. “Here,” said he, “[is an apple.]” The maiden stretched out her left arm as she was wont. “Stretch out the other arm,” said Mochuda. “I cannot,” said the maiden. “Try it,” said Mochuda. She stretched it out, and the ligament between the arm and the side gave way, and the flesh and blood of the arm and side were renewed (lit. grew), and she was perfectly whole.


    Joy and gladness possessed the king, and he said: “There is no husband whom thou choosest, that thou shalt not have.” “I choose yon clerk who healed me,” said she. The maiden went with Mochuda, and he made a church for her in Cluain Dalláin; and she was a holy virgin thenceforth.


    One time two monks from Britain came to seek Mochuda, for he was renowned far and wide, and they remained some time with him. Then they were seized with hostility 415 and envy towards him, for they thought that if (only) he were dead, they would have his place and the headship of his monks. So they plotted treachery against him, for they felt sure that he would be long-lived, if he were not put to a violent death. And this was the plan they adopted, to bind him, and drown him secretly.


    But at that very moment a monk of Mochuda's family who was wont to watch and pray, and visit cemeteries and relics [of saints] every night, chanced to meet them; and he asked them what they were carrying. They said that it was clothing of the monks to be washed  156a and cleansed. “Let it be shown me,” said he, for night is not the usual time for that. He raised the covering 416 and found Mochuda there. “Ill is the deed that ye attempted,” said he, “and let it be.” “It would have been well for me,” said Mochuda, “though they would have gone to hell for it.” And he bade them depart to their country, and (said) that the crime which they had attempted would not fail to bring vengeance upon them.


    Once, when Finan came to visit Mochuda, he saw the monks digging, and some of them carrying bags and burdens. “It is  p.288 a wretched thing,” said Finan, “to make your monks into brute beasts; for it were better to have oxen for ploughing and draught, than to put such torture on the disciples of God.” “We have never desired worldly possessions for ourselves,” said Mochuda. “That is not well,” said Finan, “for the Church to refuse alms and offerings of the secular monks (or tenants), when it gives (lit. and) confession and prayer in return. And let it not be so done henceforth.”


    A certain honourable man, named Lasianus, came to visit Mochuda, and brought with him secretly 417 thirty milch cows for Mochuda. The monks went to refection, and he (Lasianus) pretended to be unwell, and said that he would not drink anything but milk; for he felt sure that the monks had no milk. This was told to Mochuda, and he blessed the water that was before him, and it became milk, and it was given to Lasianus. And it seemed to him that it was water which had been turned into milk, and he prayed God that it might return [again] to its proper nature; and thereupon it was turned into water as he requested.


    “That is not well,” said he; “it is water that is there, not milk.” And this was told to Mochuda, and he went to Lasianus, and acknowledged that it was from God that he (Lasianus) had obtained the changing of the milk (back) into water 418; and he said to him: “Why dost thou not go to refection with us?” “I will not,” said Lasianus, “till thou accept alms from the secular monks (or tenants), and from every one else who wishes (to offer) it.” “It shall be done,” said Mochuda; and he did so as long as he lived. And Lasianus left the thirty cows with him; and they made a compact (of fraternity), and so bade farewell to one another.


     156bOn one occasion the monks said to Mochuda: “Our fields are ripe,” said they, “but we have no reapers.” “God is able [to give] you reapers,” said Mochuda. So a band of angels descended on the field and reaped it.


    Once, when the monks were going to a wood, the girdle of one of them broke owing to the weight of his burden. The prior put a withe round him as a girdle, and he (the monk) kept it on till his flesh festered owing to it, and he became so feeble that he nearly died. “What is this weakness of thine, O monk?” said Mochuda. “It is the girdle that the prior put round me,” said the monk, “and it has reached my bones, and out of obedience I would not take it off till the prior should remove it from me.” And he showed his sores to Carthagus. “These wounds shall have relief,” said Mochuda, “and thou thyself shalt have long life, or heaven forthwith.” “Heaven for  p.289 me,” said the monk. Mochuda administered the Body of Jesus to him, and he went to heaven, [with victory over the world and the devil.]


    The king of Tara and the king of Meath went to expel Mochuda from Rahen, after laying many false charges against him. And they cast lots to see which of them should go to expel the clerk, i. e. Mochuda, from Rahen. And the lot fell upon the king of Meath; and he sent his brother to expel Mochuda; and the brother died forthwith. The king was angry, and they entered and scourged Mochuda and his monks out of Rahen.


    There was one monk who had gout (lit. disease of the feet), and it went into the king's feet, and he himself (the monk) was able to walk. And there was many a one with Mochuda who had changed his habit (i. e. become a monk). Mochuda cursed every one who expelled him, and those who had dragged him forth, including the king.


    And Mochuda passed by the grave of a holy monk who had been buried some years previously. The monk arose from the ground: “Take me with thee,” said he. “Not so,” said Mochuda, “till the time of the (general) gathering together shall come.”


    And this was the number of Mochuda's train at that time, namely seven, and two score, and eight hundred (847); and they took their way through an impassable wood. There was an enormous tree lying on the path,  157a and in their weak condition they could not cross it. Mochuda raised his hand over it. “Arise,” said he, “as thou wert aforetime.” And the tree arose at Mochuda's word, and left the path practicable. And there were many poor and miserable, and bishops and abbots in this train; and all the lepers that were there, Mochuda with his own hands ministered to their pains and diseases.


    When the king of Munster, Failbe Flann, heard that Mochuda was on the road, he went to meet him in order [to welcome him, and] to offer him a place of abode. I cannot, said Mochuda, for a (special) place of resurrection has been granted to me.


    He went to Ard Fináin, and the king of the Deisi came to meet him, and offered him Ard Fináin. And the wife of this king was a daughter of Failbe Flann. And she saw a wonderful vision, to wit an innumerable flock of birds coming to the place where they were, and the leading bird of them alighting on the king. And she told the king what she had seen, and they (both) rejoiced at it. “It is Mochuda,” said he, “who will be journeying hither, and the flock (of birds) is his train, and he himself is the bird that settled on me.”


    Shortly afterwards they saw Mochuda and his train. “To ask thee for land on which we may settle have we come,” said Mochuda to the king. “Thou shalt have Lismore,” said the king. “Long since  p.290 did an angel prophesy to me that there would my resurrection be,” (said Mochuda.) And they remained with Colman at his church three days and three nights; and all the ale that they had was a single vessel, but what they got therefrom each night was sufficient for them.


    And they proceeded to a ford on a pool of the river Nem (the Munster Blackwater, or Owenmore). And there was a great flood 419 there, the tide and the river meeting (at the spot). He sent Molua and Colman on in front. Colman drove back the sea to a crag on his side, and Molua drove back the stream towards another crag. Mochuda followed them to the ford which had become dry flag-stones. And afterwards he permitted the waters to come together (again); and they did so.


    They proceeded to Lismore, and dispersed themselves through the fort to bless it, and to make habitations on it. And a virgin who was in a cell in the place met them. And they had a little rampart which they were digging. “This is vigorous,” said the virgin, “(but) dig the rampart larger (and further) from you,”  157bsaid she. They did so, and hence the name Lismore (the great rampart ) was attached to it. And she offered herself and her cell to God and to Mochuda.


    A poor man 420 came one day to Mochuda who had a desire for ale and milk and wine. Mochuda raised his hand over a fountain which was before him, and made three divisions of it, one wine, one ale, and one milk; and the poor man drank his fill of them, and was healed. And Mochuda blessed the fountain, and restored it to its natural state.


    After Mochuda had performed these godly works, 421 his body became weak and decrepit. And he went into a little house away from his monks. And he told them that his day was not far distant. And 422 he could not go to visit them, but they used to come and visit him. And one day he looked up, and saw the door of heaven opening, and a band of angels issuing from it, (and coming) to the place where he was. “To meet thy soul we are come, O Mochuda,” said they. He sent for the monks and told them that they must part [forthwith; and he bade them farewell, and blessed them,] and he received the Body of Christ, and the sacraments of the Church were administered to him, and his soul departed from his body, and he joined the company of angels [and archangels] in the presence of the [Holy] Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.



    15. The Expulsion of Mochuda from Rahen


    In this Life


    Mochuda son of Finall was of the Ciarraige Luachra by race, of the Úi Ferba to speak precisely. He came on pilgrimage from the south to Leth Cuinn, and settled in Rahen. There was a large body of monks with him labouring and praying, seven hundred and ten in number, and every third man of them held converse with angels.


    Great help to the company of monks was the holy pilgrim who came over the sea, Constantine son of Fergus, king of Alba. He bartered the goods of the earth for pilgrimage to gain heaven, and he rendered his monastic duty like any other monk engaged in the service of God. It was he who marked out the church of Rahen, and dug [the mound of] it, and cultivated Constantine's Plot to the south of Rahen, and Magh Constantin (Constantine's Plain) on the bank of the Brosny at Ath Maighne.


    Great was his refection and allowance (lit. what satisfied him); to wit the refection of a hundred would satisfy him, and the leavings of Mochuda were given to him. Mochuda sained his mouth, and then he did not consume more than any other monk, and his strength was not diminished, though his allowance was diminished. Great was the profit of his lowly service to the monks, (for) the strength of a hundred was in him. He begged Mochuda to allow him to go to his own country, Alba, to visit his clan and kindred. He allowed him to go. He returned. All the time he was in the East (i. e. in Alba) his portion of food was reserved for him, and (on his return) it was set down before him on a hide all mixed together, pottage, and milk and corn; and some of it had gone wormy. Then he took his apron and girt it to him with both hands, till he succeeded in consuming it all. Then the leavings of the clerk were given to him, and he ate them all steadily and nicely. The hospitaller was watching him, to see that he did not leave any of his refection uneaten.


    “Now to the forest with thee,” said Mochuda on the morrow, “and wreak thy wrath on it. Why didst thou put upon me to go to communion as I did at the beginning of last night? There never came to me before in the way of difficulty anything that I could compare to it. Every previous difficulty that overtook me,” said he, “I threw it from me by main force. Every good that I had I made perpetual.” He went to the forest after this, and levelled it.


    Another time he was in the trench doing his work.  266b The clerks were at refection, and he was forgotten. He was angry at this, and sent a shovelful of earth from the trench through the skylight of the refectory, so that some of it fell into the trencher (and) cup of every monk indoors. Mochuda went to see him afterwards; and streams of sweat were running down him through the intensity of the labour. Mochuda put his palm on his (Constantine's) forehead and then on his own. “Well, O clerk,” said Constantine, “'tis the sweat ot his own crown which heals 423 every one. Ugh! you ve spoilt it,” said Mochuda, “for the very dew of your grave would have healed, if this had not been said.”


    The clerks of Úi Neill were assembled once upon a time on Moylena, and fasted there, that there might be revealed to them (the doer of) a murder which had been committed in the land. This was revealed to them through a certain virgin, Cainle, 424 daughter of Diarmait. Afterwards Mochuda took the clerks with him to Rahen, and regaled them all there, to wit, the congregation of Finnian (Clonard) with their abbot, Colman mac húi Telluib; the congregation of Columcille (Durrow) and the congregation of Ciaran (Clonmacnois) with their abbot, Cronan Derg (the Red) mac hú Laicti. Then envy and jealousy of Mochuda took possession of the clerks there, for the number of the monks, the excellence of the monastery, Rahen, for the richness of their food and clothing, and for the excellence of the clerk himself; for he was a man with the grace of God.


    The refection-bell was rung at Mochuda's afterwards, and he went into the refectory. The abbots were saying one to another: “Why is the refection-bell ringing now?” said they, “for we have consumed what food there was in the place.” “It is for boastfulness,” said they, “that he does this; or because of the excessive amount of food which he has.” A messenger was sent from them to find out whether there was food for them. The messenger set forth; it was Manchin, vice-abbot of Clonmacnois. Manchin went into the refectory, and sees the food made ready for them. “What is the matter, Manchin?” said Mochuda. “I left my knife on the table,” said Manchin. “Indeed,” said Mochuda, “What then is that there?” said he, 425 “nay, it is to spy upon us 426 thou art come. May hunger be the portion of thee and of thy successor for ever.”


    The vice-abbot returned to the clerks, and told what he had seen and heard; and the clerks were filled with envy and jealousy of Mochuda, and they said to him: “Quit the residence in which thou art, said they, and leave Leth Cuinn (Conn's Half, i. e. North  p.293 Ireland) to Finnian and to Columcille, and to Ciaran the Wright's son.” “I will not go hence,” said Mochuda, “till a king or bishop expel me; unsteadfastness does not become a clerk, (and he should not move) unless he be removed by force.”


    The abbots thereupon proceeded to the king, Blathmac son of Aed Slaine, and made formal complaint to him against Mochuda. He came with them to Clonard, and this was the conclusion which they came to there, to expel Mochuda. And this was one of the three crooked counsels of Leth Cuinn, and it was in Clonard that all three of them were planned; whence was said:

    1. The three crooked counsels
      Of the clan of Conn I will impugn: 427
      The banishing of Columcille across the brine,
      The cutting short the life of Ciaran;
    2. Mochuda and his leper band
      Expelled from fair Rahen;
      An encampment by them against Conn's clans
      Came to the seed of Muolom.
    So that defect of counsel was left (as a legacy) to Clonard ever after.


    The clerks went afterwards and the kings with them, to wit Blathmac and Diarmait, two sons of Aed Slaine and joint kings of Erin, and arrived in front of the church. Diarmait was then a young stripling. “Go for us, O Constantine,” said Mochuda, “and ask the kings to grant us a respite of a year, in which we need not move from here.” Constantine went towards them, with his smiting club in his hand, and his rug about him. “Who is this?” said the youths. “This is Constantine the pilgrim,” said they. “Well, young men,” said he, “I have come from the clerk to ask a boon of you, that there may be granted to him a respite of a year, in which he need not move, and to me also on account of my pilgrimage, and of my service to the Lord.” “It is best to grant it,” said Diarmait. “It shall be granted,” said Blathmac.


    Thereupon they dispersed. At the end of a year afterwards the same clerks betake themselves (to Rahen), and they reached the front of the church. “Go for us, O Constantine,” said Mochuda, “to ask for another year in which we need not move.” He went as before. “Here is the same churl,” said they all; “he shall have no greeting this time.” “That is a bad prayer,  267b young men,” said Constantine, “for we were once in the same prosperity in which ye are, and we bartered it all for the Lord's sake. Seven men were under my power, every man of them a king, and every man with gold and  p.294 silver, and flocks and herds of kine; all this in my power, 428 and now I am here in slavery for the love of God the Lord. Though this boon were granted to me and to him who sent me, methinks ye would have your reward.” “Welcome to thee, said the two sons of Aed, thou shalt have greeting, and a respite of a year.” “Have ye a blessing therefor,” said he.


    That day year they come back again, both laymen and clerks, and reach the front of the church. “Go, Constantine,” said Mochuda, “to the kings, and ask them for a respite of a year for us.” “I doubt they will not grant it,” said Constantine. He went towards them. “Here comes the same churl towards you,” said they; “do not address him at all, (else) his wrath will fall upon you.” 429 The servants betake themselves to ribald treatment of him, pelting him with clods. 430 He took no notice of this, and came to the kings. “Will ye grant a respite of a year to Mochuda?” said he. “Be off, churl,” said they, “thou shalt have no greeting.” Thereupon he stretched out his two arms (lit. fork) and seized the necks of the two kings in his two hands. “Will ye grant,” said he, “the boon which I ask? If it be not granted, each 431 of you shall be grey with the brain of the other.” “We will grant it undoubtedly,” said they. The respite was given him, but he took it without (uttering) any blessing.


    Alas! Constantine died after this; and in the week preceding his death, as the hours were being recited in the church, Mochuda saw Satan (coming) towards Constantine. “What brought thee here?” said Mochuda. “This monk belongs to me,” said he, “for the world is on his conscience.” “Methinks, 'tis but little,” said Mochuda. “There is vengeance due for it, though it be little,” said he. “Well then, O clerk,” said Mochuda (to Constantine), “make thy confession.” 432 “I will confess, lord,” said Constantine, “that there is nought of the world on my conscience, except that I keep thinking that I should like the stone on which thou recitest thy pater noster, 433 to be laid across my face 434 (in burial).” “That shall be,” indeed, said Mochuda. “Be off, Satan, into the standing stone to the south of the church, and do no harm there to any one, except to those come to attack the church. ”


    The sons of Aed Slaine came (again) afterwards with rage and fury, pride and arrogance, and the clerks (with them); and they had been greatly stirred up by the outlaws of Úi Neill. This was natural, for they would not find where to stable their horses among  p.295 the men of Meath, if Mochuda were not removed. Alas! Constantine was sorely missed that day. “Go in, Diarmait,” said Blathmac, “for thou art king.” “I will go,” said Diarmait, “though I deem no luck will come of it.” “Some one of you clerks (go) with him,” said Blathmac. “It shall be done,” said they.


    Lots were cast between the congregations of Finnian and Ciaran and Columcille, to find out which (bishop 435) of them should go with Diarmait. The lot fell on the family of Clonmacnois; they cast lots upon (the monasteries of) their diocese, and the lot fell on the family of Cell Achid Drumfata (Killeigh). They cast lots between their churches, and the lot fell on the family of Cluain Congusa in Cinel Ardgair. “I will go,” said the abbot (erenagh), “to expel him.”


    Diarmait and the clerk approached, and a great company with them. Diarmait went and rested his elbow on the door-post of the church in which Mochuda was. “Come inside into the church,” said the clerk. “I have come far enough,” said Diarmait. “Art thou come to expel me?” said Mochuda. “That is what I was sent for indeed,” said Diarmait. “If thou art in a hurry to do it for them (?),” said Mochuda, “I am ready,” said he, “(to come) with you.” “I could not,” 436 said Diarmait, “I will never expel thee till doom, for the greatness of thy sanctity and honour; and I repent that I ever came at all.” “Mayest thou have honour and distinction therefor,” said Mochuda, “in heaven and earth, and power and kingship and sovereignty over Erin till doom, unless thou oppose my successor. Thy face shall not be turned back before thine enemies, because thou didst turn back before me. But the youths will revile thee, when thou art gone forth, they will call thee Diarmait Ruanaid; but it will turn to an evident honour to thee and to thy seed, and the kingship shall descend from thee continually.”


    Diarmait turned (and went) out then; and Blathmac began reviling him: “redly (ruanaid) comest thou from the clerk” said he;  268b that is, royally. This was afterwards the style which every one gave him, Diarmait Ruanaid. “Go yourselves,” said Blathmac to the clerks, “and expel Mochuda; for it is against you that he is contesting the land.” “We will not go,” said they, “unless thou come with us.” “I will go with you,” said the king. They set out all together against him, laymen and clerks, to the place where Mochuda was.


    Then the abbot of Cluain Congusa went towards him, to expel him, for on him the lot had fallen to do it. “Wilt thou expel me?” said Mochuda. “I will, for thou shalt be no longer in the abbot's chair,” said the clerk. “Then thou shalt have neither heaven nor  p.296 earth,” said Mochuda, “and thy abbot 437 shall ever be a 438 mockery and derision in all assemblies and meetings.” “Alas! woe to him who expels thee, and by whom thou art expelled,” said the prior of Killeigh. “A blessing on thee,” said Mochuda, “with thee shall be the honour of thy church.”


    “Carry him off,” said the vice-abbot of Clonmacnois, “do not delay the woody-worded churl in the church.” “Thou shalt have neither heaven nor earth”, said Mochuda, “and cold and hunger shall carry thee off, and shall carry off thy successor time after time.” “It is a grievous pity what ye are doing,” said the prior of Burrow. “Thou shalt be prior and abbot in thy cell continually,” said Mochuda. “Drag him down,” said the 439 abbot of Durrow. “The disaffection of thy congregation on thee for ever, and on thy successor continually, and in every assembly let there ever be some finger to point at him (with scorn).” He turned to the family of Clonard, and cursed some of them, and blessed others.


    Blathmac himself then approached, and Cronan Derg (the Red), successor of Ciaran. “Wherefore are ye come?” said Mochuda. “To expel thee,” said Blathmac. “Thou shalt not,” said Mochuda. “Thou shalt no longer occupy the abbot's chair,” said he. “Then I will expel thee from the throne on which thou art, and I will take heaven and earth from thee, and no king or royal heir shall ever come of thee, and thy children and race shall be servants till doom to the youth who has gone out (i.e. Diarmait).”


    Thereupon 440 he turned to Cronan and said to him: “Inhuman art thou to me,” said he, “in the meanness of these thine actions, and of thy connexion with the company of Ciaran; that it may become a byword among them: "A Munsterman expelled a Munsterman"; that is, that all the more (for Mochuda's expulsion) they will have an abbot from Munster.”


     269a “But no Munsterman will ever have prosperity in his abbey, save only one from Munster who shall take it to avenge on Leth Cuinn my expulsion. Connaught (will be) under Ara (?) and the Úi Neill without royalty of princes, but will be under the wretched rule of strangers for a time (?). Cluain without labour or rule after the destruction of its elders, wherein will be a fierce concert of all men who till its lands (?) without abundance (?) of co-operation in teaching, without silence in accordance with their order, but elders without fellowship in belief, but association in folly 441 all this time, till the white chafer shall come who shall effect it afterwards; and the  p.297 church shall be well in his day, but it will be ill in the time of the glittering beetle 442 from Munster who will fight his battles without folly, and thou thyself shalt be under reproach.” Straightway the left eye of Cronan was blinded.


    “Sudden death carry thee off, and thy seed after thee, and the hand which was stretched out against me,” said he, “may its evil case be plain to all.” Which was afterwards fulfilled. “Every abbot then that succeeds thee, whatever kind of affliction shall seize him after entering on the abbacy, may it not depart from him till his death.” “A man of a red spear (i. e. a murderer) in thy place,” said Cronan, “and sudden death carry off some of them.” He also bequeathed other threats (lit. words) to him. “Thy monastery shall be mine now,” said Cronan. 443 “No,” said Mochuda, “but Rahen of Mochuda, and Mochuda of Rahen will be the phrase there.”


    They then expel him, and (he and his monks) go round the graves and cemeteries. “Alas! lord,” said one of his monks to Mochuda, “my foot is diseased, I cannot go with thee.” “Remain here then,” said Mochuda. “Nay,” said Colman mac húi Tell'uib, abbot of Clonard, “we will not have a spark from thee 444 in our midst.” “Arise,” said Mochuda, “and put thy foot on yonder stone.” And when the monk put his foot on it, he was healed at once; and this is 'Mochuda's Flagstone' in Rahen. The disease then went into Colman's foot at Mochuda's command, and he said that the disease of gout would be continually in Clonard.


    The dead arose from the ground, all who had died in his (Mochuda's) 269b time, to go with him. “So,” said Colman, the stammering monk, seizing Mochuda's foot, “thou didst promise us,” said he, “that thy resurrection should be among us; say then whether we shall come with thee, or whether we shall remain here.” “Remain here,” said Mochuda, “for there are not two resurrections in the Gospel;” “and I will come on the Judgement Day with all my monks to the cross of Constantine in front of the church, and together we will go to the assize of doom.”


    Then Mochuda went forth with this great train, eight hundred and forty in number. Many mighty works and miracles did he on his way to the Deisi; and the king of the Deisi, Maelochtraig son of Dinertach, gave his body and soul to him, and allowed any one of the Deisi who chose to do so, to join him. He settled afterwards in Dun Seinm on the river Nem. 445 “I will be here continually,” said he, “till I go from Nem to Nem.” 446 “What art thou marking out, O clerk?” said a nun who was there, named Caimell, to him. “It  p.298 is a fort (liss) which the monks are making,” said he. “'Tis a great (mor) fort indeed,” said the nun. “Let that be its name then,” said he, “the Great Fort.” Hence comes the name Lismore of Mochuda.


    Mochuda died that day year. Cronan went into Munster to his diocese, that is Ciaran's successor; and from there he went to Lismore, to ask remission for his race from the words (i.e. curses) which Mochuda had left upon them. He found Molua the Leper there (as Mochuda's successor). On the morrow he began to ask remission of Molua. “If Mochuda comes again in the body,” said he, ask remission of him. “Till he come, we will not grant remission in his place.”.


    Cronan went on northward after this towards Clonmacnois. He went in a ship on the Shannon. He saw a boat and several other boats pursuing it. All who were in the (first) boat were sunk and killed; except one of them who swam to the ship in which Cronan was, and Cronan seized him by the head. But one of the pursuers aimed a blow at him and cut off his head, and Cronan's hand with it. Cronan went to the bank and landed, and said to his attendants: “Wait here,” said he, “that I may sleep.” They waited for him a long time to see if he would rise. So Cronan died there through the word of Mochuda, as he prophesied to him; and he prophesied that one of his (Mochuda's) race (i.e. a Munsterman) should take the abbacy in Cluain, and that there should be decay in Church and State in his time. And all these things have been fulfilled, are being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled.

  • Turned the world upside down
    Did the twelve sons of Blathmac;
    Every son has eleven sons,
    It is hard to count them by reason of their prosperous force.
  • Turned it upside down again
    Did the ten sons of every grandson of Blathmac;
    I entreat the king who gave them strength,
    That there may be no king 447.
  • Blathmac of the thousand roads dwells
    Far from where is the multitude of youths;
    Hereafter Blathmac shall be in decline,
    He will be left all alone.
  • Though he be called Blathmac, 448
    There is one who will be stronger in steadfastness;
    He will hurl him from the power in which he is
    In the space of one night and one day. Et reliqua.
  •  p.299

    Mochuda with his convent, seven and seven score and seven hundred (847), and every third man of them held converse with angels. One day Mochuda with this convent about him went in a great procession round the Angels' Cemetery in Rahen praying, &c. 449

     31 270b

    Mochuda sang (this).

  • The holy heavenly church,
    She is free, she is a seemly possession;
    Trust in her abundant strength;
    She is wheat, she is a fragrant branch.
  • If ye accept the church,
    Let her be the nurture of babes,
    Let your promise (lit. word) be strong
    In feeding her guests.
  • These are the guests
    Which are fitting in the Church,
    Folk who work and study,
    God's little poor and weaklings;
    Blessed whoever may give them
    Help when he considereth them,
    By doing their pleasure.
  • If ye accept the church,
    I proclaim: to you shall be the mischief of it; 450
    Say that ye will not accept her,
    Or else do her work.
  • To the work of her temple,
    Recitation of hours and (ascetic) devotion;
    Her good beauteous altar;
    That after blessing them
    She may be fair to look on,
    After making her fortifications.
  • If ye receive the church,
    I proclaim, it is no saying of mystery —
    For I remember well —
    That there be a rising of heroes,
    Let there be a monument in every corner.
  • After the monuments —
    I proclaim, 'tis a fundamental saying —
    If ye do your toil,
    If ye increase your labour,  p.300
    (If) your feet toil,
    Let your recompense be multiplied;
    Lift up your hands,
    Let there be crosses over every monument.
  •  32
  • After the crosses are finished (?),
    If ye finish (?) your toil,
    I do not bid you remain;
    Depart for a year,
    {} 451
    Seeking your tenants.
  • Every tenant shall bring
    His offering to the church;
    To perform his toil,
    To magnify his church.
    He himself had her cattle
    In cultivating her land
    Till old age be reached;
    (And then) her kingdom on the plain of heaven.
  • Every tenant who does not bring
    His offering to the church,
    To perform his toil,
    To increase his labours,
    His garden, there will be no produce from it,
    Everything he cultivates will be bad;
    That he may bear the proof,
    That thence follows mischief.
  • Let not (that) mischief be yours;
    Fast against the tenants
    Who revolt against the church.
    This is what is claimed of you,
    If ye deem it little that they bring,
    Arise and cultivate;
    They will make fields of corn,
    And follow the church thence,
    The holy heavenly church.
    Et reliqua.
  •  p.310 271a

    Mochuda of Rahen with his convent, this was their number, seven, and seven score, and seven hundred, and every third man among them conversed with angels. They were one day in a circle around the cemetery in Rahen praying. While Mochuda was there he saw the demon in the midst of them. Mochuda asked him:  p.301 “Wretch, what way didst thou find to get here?” The devil answered him, and said: “On the tonsure (lit. baldness) of the Connaught man,” said he; “this was a student of Cenel Aeda na h-Echtge.” “Well, O clerk,” said Mochuda, “where was thy mind, when the devil came by way of thee, and got into our midst?” The young churchman prostrates himself before Mochuda, and told him the reason, which was this: “My brothers after the flesh were giving battle, and this was revealed to me; and until they were victorious, my attention was with them, and not here. But I promise to thee, and to the Lord, that the devil shall not find a road out by way of me, though he found that way in.” This was true.


    “Well, clerk,” said the devil to Mochuda, “let me go; for I dare not mount upwards into the air, because of the breaths of the saints and their prayers; for I never experienced heavier or more acute pain in hell than the breaths and prayers of the saints.” Mochuda then allowed the devil to depart for the pitifulness of the plea which he recited in the presence of the saints. The devil thereupon departed from their presence, and did not come to them again. Et reliqua.

    xiii. This is another story about Mochuda.


    Mochuda of Rahen was carving one evening for his convent and for his guests there. Now whenever his hands happened to touch any of the food, he would rub his hands  271b on his shoes which he wore daily. One night then Mochuda said: “Great is this authority in which I am,” said he, “seven and seven score and seven hundred in this convent in which I am, and every third man of them has converse with angels, and I am abbot and head over all of them, and yet I am the worst of them all. And this is no road to heaven for me, and I will not remain like this any longer, but will seek a ship that is leaving Ireland, and will not be two nights in one place, but I will be in penance throughout the length of the great world.”


    In this wise he spent the night; and the next day he escaped to the place where Comgall was, Tech Teille (Tehelly). When they saw one another, Mochuda and Comgall, they blessed one another. Sit down, said Comgall to him. I would rather not, said Mochuda, for I am in a hurry; there is a ship about to sail, said he, and I must go in her. Not so, said Comgall, for God will cause the ship to remain here to-night. So Mochuda sat down, and his shoes were taken off him, and as they were taken off Comgall said: “Come out, O devil,” said he, “from the shoe; thou shalt not carry off any more the spoil which thou didst find.” At hearing this the devil leaped out of the shoe, and as he departed he said: “It was lucky for thee, thy falling in with Comgall, O Mochuda, for I would not have allowed thee  p.302 to be two nights in the same place, because of the unfair advantage which thou gavest to thine own shoes over the shoes of the convent, for thou wouldst rub thy hands on them when thou wert carving their (i. e. the monks) refection, and I found no other way of getting at thee but only this.” The devil thereupon departed, and Comgall said to the saint that he should return home, and attend on his hours. And he said:

    1. It is good for a clerk to reside in one place
      And attend the (canonical) hours.
      It is mocking devils that put
      The spirit of restlessness in a man.
    So Mochuda continued to reside without wandering through the power of God and of Comgall. THE END. 452


    16. Of the sons of Úa Suanaig.


    In this Life


    In the first place, Fiachra son of Eochu Muigmedon had two sons, Amalgaid and Nathi. Nathi's sons were Eochu Brec (the freckled) and Eochu Mingort (? of the smooth field) and Elgach, and Erca Caelbuide (the thin and yellow), Corcoroi and Onbecc, and MacCuais, and Oengus Lamfada (Long-hand). The offspring of Eochu Brec, that is the Úi Echdach of the Moy, that is the offspring of Breth son of Eochu Brec, and the offspring of Laegaire son of Eochu Brec; that is the Muinter Muiren in Owles, of whom was Maelduin son of Crimthann, son of Dima, son of Diarmait, son of Senach, son of Laegaire, son of Eochu Brec. Cuimin son of Dima, son of Diarmait (settled) at Cell Cuimin in the territory of the Úi Eachdach; (he is) in the great monument at the feet of Úa Suanaig; that is, Cuimin was buried in Rahen.


    The race of Laegaire (include) the Muinter Muiren of Glen Maelduin, and the Muinter Máelfogamair, and the Úi Cridgen, and Úi Lenain, and Úi Flatili. The offspring of Breth son of Eochu Brec (were) Maelfalce son of Breth, Brodub son of Breth, and Brendan son of Breth. Of them (were descended) the three Úi Suanaig, that is Fidmaine, and Fidairle, and Fidgus, three sons of Fidbadach and of Feramail daughter of Dima Dub (the black), son of Diarmait, son of Senach, son of Laegaire, son of Eochu Brec; while Fidbadach was the son of Cuduilig, son of Coman, son of Suanach, son of Crecan of the Moy, son of Bruidge son of Brendan, son of Breth, son of Eochu Brec, ut supra, son of Nathi, son of Fiachra, son of Eochu Muigmedon.


    Now these were saints of the Úi Echach, to wit, Aedan in Cluain Eochaille in the Corann, Colman son of Eochu at Temple Shanbo in Úi Cennselaig; these were sons of Eochu Muigmedon. Saints of the seed of Brec were Colman son of Dui, son of Ainmire, son of Conall, son of Cobthach, son of Eogan, son of Eochu of Munster.  272b Now the three Úi Suanaig, these were their places of settlement, Fidmaine in Rahen, Fidairle in Kinsale, Fidgus in Glascarn, et reliqua.


    (This is) how Mochuda and Úa Suanaig obtained Ros Corr and its lands:— Maelbresail son of Cathasach, son of Flann Lena, was a-plundering. One of his acts of plunder was outraging the cross of Úa Suanaig and his right of protection in Fid Elo, in respect of a body of poets; hence is (the cross called) the Cross of the Satirists in Fid Elo.  p.304 In the reign of Domnall son of Murchad this outrage (of the cross) and Úa Suanaig was committed. After the plundering of Úa Suanaig, Domnall son of Murchad put down the whole plundering band. Judgement and compensation could not be awarded, because of the enormity of the outrage; but it was left to the conscience of Úa Suanaig himself. This was the decision that he gave: that Ros Corr, the land on which the crime had been committed, should be forfeited in perpetuity to Mochuda and to Úa Suanaig, and that the men who had committed the crimes, the Úi Cernaig, the Úi Gilla Suanaig, and the Úi Conin should not return to the same sept to the day of doom (i. e. they were made outlaws), et reliqua.


    Mochuda sang (this) when being expelled from Rahen.

  • Not joyful the separation which we endure;
    Alas! that we cannot remain.
    Whether we stayed here or there,
    Fain would we not separate.
  • Whether it be mine,
    Fair is this church;
    Whether it be his,
    Cherish (?) it for him,
    That he may have it.
  •  273a
  • As an illustrious son takes
    The inheritance of his noble father.
    So illustriously will take my place
    The noble gentle son of Fidbadach.
  •  273a
  • Rahen of the saints, we loved it,
    For we made (there) a noble abode;
    Our being chased from it, we loved not;
    Sad is the change, not joyful.
    Not joyful, et reliqua.
  •  6

    Mochuda sang (this).

  • I cannot stay more
    Than the stay of a fleeting woman,
    My Rahen, may it be my little Rahen,
    May it be great, my Rahen.
  • Glorious Rahen, evident its riches.
    Above the cleared forest of the tribe of Erc;
    This is what I compare Rahen to,
    To a meadow of the plain of heaven.
  •  p.305
  • May this my church be honourable,
    May there be in it melodious triumphs;
    May there be schools with full degrees,
    Learning wisdom within it.
  • May this my church be honourable,
    May there be in it hosts of angels;
    Be it my port of settlement,
    Be it my fort, my stronghold.
  • The son by whom it shall be raised,
    Let the fort which shall advance be his,
    With them there will not be its like,
    Among monks there will not be (its like).
    There will not be, et reliqua.
  •  7

    Once on a time Úa Suanaig went to Land of (Colman) son of Luachan. There was a rich man near Land at that time, who had seven sons and a large landed property; the man's name was Coisimnach. “O clerk,” said Colman mac Luachain to Úa Suanaig, “come with me to ask a grant of land from Coisimnach.” “I will come,” said Úa Suanaig. As soon as they were seen (approaching), the place was shut against them; and they fasted till morning in front of the fort, the whole company of them;  273b to wit, Úa Suanaig, and his family, and Colman, and Maeltuile son of Nochuire, the bosom-foster-child of Úa Suanaig.


    Then said Colman to Úa Suanaig: “Lay thy curse on Coisimnach and his offspring.” So the three of them made three staves for Coisimnach. Colman spoke this stave:

    1. I put, O fair Fidmaine,
      A curse 453 by the will of the King of the stars
      On Coisimnach — a fulfilment of conflicts —
      And the seven brethren.  454

    Úa Suanaig: spoke:

    1. My curse, till doom shall come,
      On Coisimnach in his fort,
      And on his offspring — it will not be concealed —
      While heaven and earth remain.

    Maeltuile spoke:

    1. The fort is uninhabited
      Of his heirs till doom shall come.
      For the fasting of the aged elders,
      O reverend Christ, let this be fulfilled.


    Destruction was brought on Coisimnach thereafter, and the land was forfeited to the church thenceforth, et reliqua.


    Gillacoluim Úa Maelmuaid left three sons, to wit, Cubladma, and Donnchad, and Muircertach. These sons took to plundering and harrying Rahen, and the family of Rahen, and Úa Suanaig. Cubladma came one day to Rahen and slew fifteen cattle, both great and small. The successor of Úa Suanaig, Saerbrethach Úa Cellaig, was wroth, and accused him vehemently  274a in the house of Murchad Úa Maelechlainn in Durrow, for it was there that Úa Maelechlainn had his house. And he accused Cubladma to his face.


    He (Cubladma) took the green staff and swore that he had not gone to Rahen the whole of that day, and that he had not done any of the evil related by him. “It is not right,” said they all unanimously, “to bring a false accusation against thee.” However, he (Cubladma) came to Rahen again in pursuit of the Úi Duibginn, who had taken sanctuary there. 455 He then plundered and committed brigandage, and carried off some cows from the middle of the cemetery. Thereupon the man who owned the cows turned upon him, and wounded him in the upper part of the breast with a knife which he had. When he perceived in himself the symptoms of death, he offered his service to Úa Cellaig and to Úa Suanaig, and Úa Cellaig accepted it not. And he died at the end of nine days. And the mighty works of God and of Úa Suanaig were magnified herein.


    Muircertach Úa Maelmuaid succeeded to the chieftainship of Fir Cell afterwards. He came one night a-guesting to Rahen, and had his bed that night in the church; and his wife was with him in the bed. One of the elders of the place had a vessel of cooling drink. It was taken by force to him (Muircertach) in the church, and a bullock from the cattle of the place. And they both ate of it. Now Domnall Úa Maelmuaid had been outlawed at this time, and the Muinter Luainim with him. And they went to Rahen early in the morning; and their coming aroused Muircertach. And (when he perceived who it was) he went back into the church; and the church was burnt over his head for his pollution of the  274b church the previous night. And the mighty works of God and Úa Suanaig were magnified herein.


    Domnall Úa Maelmuaid, who burnt the church, was slain in the middle of Rahen before the year was out. Donnchad Úa Maelmuaid, the third son of Gillacoluim, he was taken by Murchad Úa Maelechlainn, who delivered him over to the Muinter Luainim, who poisoned him, and hid him in a hole in a bog, so that he was never found, because of his enormous vices.


    Aed son of Domnall Úa Maelmuaid, he also came a-guesting to Rahen; and the Muinter Luainim slew him in Inis Mochutta (Mochuda's island) and sixteen men of his company with him. And the mighty works of God, and of Mochuda, and of Úa Suanaig were magnified in these doings.


    Now this is the death which overtook the father of these sons, Gillacoluim. The Vagabond Úa Ailleain of Fir Cell killed Gillacoluim in Inis Locha meic Dubrai, and killed his wife, who was a daughter of Úa Bricc of the Munster Deisi, as they were drunk. And the Vagabond was slain afterwards. Hence the place where he was slain is called Port in Geocaig (the Vagabond's port), et reliqua. 456


    17. Life of Ruadan

    In this Life


     193a This is the Life of Ruadan of the seed of Dui. 457 He was of 458 noble race, namely of the blood of the kings of Munster, to wit, Ruadan the Fair Son of Fergus Bern (Gap), son of Dera Dub (i.e. the Black), son of Daire Cerb (slash), son of Ailill Flannbec (i. e. little blood, or little-red) son of Fiacha Thick-neck, son of Eogan the Great, son of Ailill Crop-ear.


    God chose this Ruadan in his mother's womb, and from the sucking of the breast, for he was full of the grace of the Holy Spirit from the day of his birth to the day of his death. Ruadan loved the Lord greatly in his childhood.


    When he reached the age of learning, the mighty Lord instructed him to go and learn the 459 scriptures, and the catholic faith, 460 and other divine 461 knowledge generally. After this Ruadan went to the Úi Néill of the South, to Finden, bishop of Clonard, and spent  193b his time with him, till he was perfect in the scripture. 462 Then his tutor gave him leave to depart. He took a blessing from him, and left a blessing with him.


    After this Ruadan went to Muscraighe (settling) in Ara mac ua Neitt, and erected 463 a place of abode there. Afterwards the Lord sent an angel to Ruadan, who said to him: “The Lord does not grant to thee that thy resurrection should be in this place.”.


    Thereupon Ruadan went to Lothra in Ormond, where his monastery is to-day. Saint Ruadan saw a dreadful wild boar before him in the hollow of a tree, for that was its lair. Ruadan was afraid at the sight of the boar. When the boar saw Ruadan he quitted the place in which he was as (a mark of) obedience to the Lord and to Ruadan. Ruadan built a venerable church 464 to the Lord there at the angel's bidding, which is the origin of Lothra in Munster to-day.


    At the same time Brendan mac ui Alta 465 chose for himself a place of residence a little distance from Ruadan in Tulach Brendain (Brendan's Hill). Brendan built an oratory there, in a place where they could hear one another's bells on this side and on that. Brendan said [to his household] 466: “Let us leave this district to Ruadan, for we  p.309 do not gain anything (by remaining) in the same district with him, because of his repute and honour” 467.


    Brendan went after this to Clonfert Brendan, where stands his monastery to-day; and he became the patron saint 468 there. Ruadan blessed Brendan because of 469 his submissiveness to himself, and said: “My monastery,” said he, “shall not be stronger 470 than his monastery for ever.”


    Ruadan went after this to the district of Cinel Cairpre Moir, to Snam Luthair. The king of this district died at this time,  194a and was being carried to his burial as Ruadan arrived, and the people were in great lamentation and mourning. 471 St. Ruadan was moved to pity for them, and he entreated the Lord on their behalf, so that God raised up the king afterwards in honour of Ruadan. The king then offered his city, and his district, and himself, and his race as well, to God and to Ruadan for ever 472 . And the name of God and of Ruadan was magnified in consequence.


    Ruadan went one day to Ros Eirnine in the district of the Oriors. He sees before him a great multitude there making 473 entreaty, with heavy grief, and great lamentation. Ruadan asked the cause of the outcry. 474 “We have good reason for it,” said they, “a time of great pestilence befell here, and the chests of the city were left and hidden under the ground, and we do not know in 475 what secret place they are.”


    After this Ruadan went through the city continually sounding his bell, so that he damaged it, meanwhile entreating the Lord on their behalf. When the Lord heard Ruadan's earnest intercession to Him, He opened the ground above 476 them, so that the chests were evident to every one. And out of them (the chests) they gave their garments afterwards in honour of St. Ruadan. And the nobles offered their city, and their race, and themselves 477 to God and to Ruadan. The name of God, &c.


    One day Ruadan's cook went to carry milk to the monastery seven days running. Every time, however, that he came to the door of the monastery, the milk vessel would be smashed, and its contents spilt. After this Ruadan went to the door of the monastery to find out who 478 it was that inflicted this total loss on the cook.


    Ruadan saw before him two demons, one on the right-hand  p.310 post  194b (of the door), and the other on the left-hand post, and an iron hammer in the hand of each of them. “Why have ye come here?” said Ruadan. “Soon told” 479 said they: “to smash the milk-vessel, and to spill the milk.” “Why so?” said Ruadan. “The reason is,” said they, “because of the disrepect shown 480 by the cook to the guests and to the poor as well.” Ruadan bound it upon the demons afterwards to depart into the depth of the great sea, and to remain there perpetually, and that they should not come to destroy anything in the same place, or in any other place for ever. The demons did as Ruadan told them.


    A certain man of Arad Cliach came to Ruadan to beg him to make a leech of him. Ruadan blessed his hands and his eyes; and all the sciences of healing were revealed to him thereafter, so that he was perfect in them.


    The queen of Cualann was seized with 481 a serious and dangerous illness. There were fifty leeches attending her for a long time, but  482 they could not cure her. Afterwards 483 the Lord came to Ruadan in the form of an angel, and said to him: “It is to thee that the Lord has granted to heal the queen.”


    Ruadan shook off his slumber. [There was revealed to the queen through a vision in sleep the same Ruadan] in bright array and in great glory. And it seemed to her that he said to her: “I will send a young man to thee on a day like this (lit. the namesake of the day that I have come here). His appearance will be like mine, and he will heal thee” 484. Thereafter the queen commended herself into the hands of God and Ruadan, and told the leeches to retire 485 as they could not heal her.


    Then Ruadan sent the aforesaid leech to her; and a brazen vessel which they had was brought to Ruadan full of water. Ruadan sained  195a the water; he also spat in it. And he gave the leech a drink from it, and said to him afterwards: “Go to the queen, and take this vessel with thee. Spit in it thyself, and give the queen a drink from it, and she will be whole thereafter; that is to say, a stone of blood which is in her womb will depart from her as a dead foetus. And take no fee from the king of Cualann except the cloth which he has, called Leuia.” 486


    The leech then went to the queen, and did as Ruadan said, and 487 healed the queen. The king offered 488 many gifts to the leech in return for the healing of the queen. “No,” said the leech, “these  p.311 shall not be accepted from thee, but only the leiuia to take to Ruadan.” “Thou shalt have it,” said the king of Cualann; and the king then gave to him the linen cloth; and it remained on the altar of Ruadan for a long time afterwards. And the name of God, &c.


    One day Brendan's ship was on the deep sea of Luimnech; and the sea sucked down the ship and sank it; and there was in the lower part of the ship a young lad, a son of a king of the Britons, who was a pupil of Brendan. Brendan said: “It is to Ruadan of Lothra that the Lord has granted to bring back this ship again, and to raise the little boy.” 489


    Then Brendan sent messengers to Ruadan to beg him to come to the place where he was, that he might help 490 this disaster. Ruadan then went to Brendan, and besought the Lord for him; and God heard the intercession of Ruadan, and brought the ship back, and the son of the king of the Britons in it alive. And the little lad said: “It was the cowl of Ruadan that was with me under the sea, and did not allow the water to attack me, so that I  195b returned back again.” The name of God, &c.


    The (monastic) family of Ruadan consisted of three fifties continually; and they received their livelihood without any human exertion on their part, save only prayer and intercession of the Creator, and the daily performance of divine psalmody, in praising the Lord continually for the manner in which they received their sustenance. Ruadan had a wonderful tree in the monastery; an angelic sap would distil from it continually, which had the scent of wine, and every one who tasted it but a single time was satiated. 491 Great envy possessed the saints of Erin at this, and they were jealous of Ruadan.


    And the saints of Erin went to Finnian, bishop of Clonard, for he was tutor in law and doctrine to many of the saints of Erin, and some authorities say that he was (tutor) to [all] the saints of Erin. And the saints made 492 a grievous complaint to Finnian, and said that no servants would remain to their monks in their churches, but that either openly or secretly they would go off to Ruadan to seek the sacred sustenance. Then Finnian and the saints of Erin went together to Ruadan to Lothra. When Finnian entered the monastery there he saw the wonder-working tree; and Finnian sained the tree. 493 They remained there then till the hour of refection arrived.


    The hospitaller arose (and went) to Ruadan and said to him: “There has not dropped from the tree to-day more than enough for  p.312 our own monks and household; and what are our guests to eat?” St. Ruadan said: “Bring us water of the fountain hither, and the Lord will turn it into wine hereafter.” The cook thereupon arose (and went) to the fountain, and filled his vessel with the water. Then a salmon leaped  196a towards him through the stone that was under the fountain. Its size was wonderful and unspeakable in their eyes (as may be judged), for the print of it still remains on the stone. The hospitaller then went to Ruadan with the water and the big salmon. Ruadan blessed the water, and the Lord then turned it into wine in honour of Ruadan.


    Ruadan satisfied 494 the saints of Erin and his other guests that night with wine and fish, so that they were happy and cheerful thereafter. The saints entreated Ruadan with earnest prayer that he would come into conformity with themselves and with their monks in (ordinary) human life, that they might not be jealous of him. Ruadan agreed to this request in humility and patience. Finnian thereupon blessed Ruadan as a reward for his humility, and blessed the monastery and the ground which should yield its fruits to him.


    Finnian said to Ruadan afterwards: “I declare to thee, that the land which shall be ploughed by thee shall produce abundant crops continually, and will not require manuring as in the case of other men.” Ruadan accepted this of St. Finnian. Finnian and the saints of Erin returned severally from Ruadan in lasting peace; and Finnian gave his blessing to Ruadan.


    Diarmait son of Fergus Cerrbel (i.e. Wrymouth), whom some call Diarmait son of Cerball, was king of Erin in the time of Ruadan. This king sent stewards and servitors throughout Erin to levy his tributes and rents, that his power might be manifested to the men of Erin generally.


    There was a certain vile and outrageous person who was his steward, named Baclam (i. e. Crooked arm). Satan dwelt in him before and afterwards (i.e. continuously). He was never  196b on his guard against the devil, but 495 they were ever in agreement together to do despite to God. At the instigation of the devil, this foul creature 496 Baclam set out with a great 497 spear which he himself called the spear of the high king which he would carry athwart into the 498 forts and fair cities of kings and other great men, in order that this might be an 499 increase of strength to the high king.


    In this way Baclam started for Connaught, to speak precisely.  p.313 He proceeded to the fort of Aed Guaire, the king of Úi Maine. When 500 he reached it they all 501 said to him: “Enter this city with us with honour and reverence.” He said that he would not enter in that way, but would carry in the spear of the king held athwart, as he did in the case of the forts of every other king. When the household of Aed heard this, they made a breach in the city, and admitted Baclam, after breaching the city, with his spear athwart.


    When Aed Guaire heard of this deed, 502 he was furious, and revolted violently; he went to the place where the steward was and inflicted 503 a violent death upon him, and killed him forthwith. But though Aed Guaire had done this, he felt that he could not successfully resist the oppression of the high king. Thereupon he went 504 to Muscraige, to bishop Senach; and went under his protection because of the kinship that was between them, for their two mothers were sisters.


    Then bishop Senach took Aed Guaire with him to Ruadan for fear of the king, [because of his kinship with him,] for two sisters of Ruadan, named Gael and Ruanat, had fostered the noble bishop Senach [and Ruadan]. But though Ruadan accepted  197a the (duty of) protection, he was afraid that the king would 505 not listen to him. In order therefore to protect his refugee he took Aed Guaire to Britain for fear of king Diarmait. He left him in Britain, and returned himself.


    As to the king Diarmait, when he heard this, he thereupon sent messengers to the king of Britain, and to the chief men of the district 506 as well, threatening 507 slaughter, unless they sent back Aed Guaire. When the Britons heard this they sent back Aed Guaire.


    Aed Guaire went to Poll Ruadain (the Pit of Ruadan), for it was there that 508 he found St. Ruadan to be. Ruadan then made 509 a place and dwelling in the ground for Aed Guaire in the oratory in which he himself was serving the Lord, in order to protect his refugee against the arrogant king. And he did not admit any one to the subterranean chamber where he was with St. Ruadan, except a single servant when actually ministering to him.


    Diarmait heard that Aed Guaire had gone to Ruadan for protection against him. He went thereupon to Poll Ruadain, and sent his charioteer to the oratory in which Ruadan was serving God, to fetch Aed away from Ruadan. When the charioteer reached the oratory the Lord closed the doors of his sight, so that he was blind,  p.314 and could not make use of them (his eyes). The charioteer, however, repented earnestly of the deed which he had attempted, and committed himself to the judgement of God and Ruadan therein.


    The king, thinking that the charioteer had been gone a long time, went himself to the oratory there, to question Ruadan where Aed Guaire was;  197b for he was convinced that Ruadan would not tell him a fiction. “I know not,” said Ruadan, “unless he be under thy feet.” Diarmait turned back from the oratory, for he did not understand the word that Ruadan had spoken to him. (But) afterwards 510 he wondered in his mind whether what Ruadan had said might be true; viz. that it might be possible 511 to have put some one under the ground where his foot had rested in the oratory, and that it was to avoid falsehood that Ruadan had said the above cited word.


    Moreover the king, looking back at the oratory, saw a servant of Ruadan's household going into the subterranean chamber in which Aed Guaire was, carrying a lighted 512 torch to minister to Aed there, as he was accustomed to do. This was seen by Diarmait, and he called a servant of his household named Donnan, and told him to go to the oratory, and dig up the ground to find Aed Guaire, and bring him out of the pit there to himself in despite of Ruadan. Donnan went to the oratory with his iron tools. 513 And when he was minded to dig up the ground to get at Aed Guaire, his hand dried up on him, so that he could not use it at all.  514


    Donnan repented earnestly of the outrageous deed which he had attempted against Ruadan, and offered himself to the judgement of God and Ruadan. Now the charioteer of the king whom the Lord had blinded in the oratory in honour of Ruadan, and Donnan himself, were made monks by Ruadan, and were sainted (afterwards), and they are counted in the number of the saints of Erin at Poll Ruadain to-day. When 515 Diarmait, however, saw that his messengers did not return, he went himself to the oratory,  198a and carried off Aed Guaire in despite of God and Ruadan. And they went afterwards to Tara and Aed with him.


    Ruadan was very angry at this, and assembled his monks, and they went to Brendan of Birr. Brendan went with him and with their respective monks to Tara. Ruadan demanded his refugee of the king Diarmait. Diarmait flatly refused St. Ruadan. The refusal was heard by Ruadan and Brendan and their monks. They proceeded to ring their bells, both large and small, against Diarmait (so violently) that they damaged 516 the bells in ringing them. They also  p.315 sang psalms of cursing and vengeance against him; but they could not obtain their will of the king, but he treated them with great contempt.


    Ruadan and Brendan remained at Tara that night. There were twelve kings with Diarmait, (and) their twelve sons who were with them died that night, and were found dead on the morrow. A great outcry was raised on high 517 in Tara on account of them, when 518 this was heard. The kings went to the high-king, Diarmait, and said to him: “It is through the psalm-singing of the clerks and of this St. Ruadan, who is here demanding (the settlement of) his business from thee, it is through this that our sons have died.” The foster-fathers 519 of the dead youths went to Ruadan afterwards, 520 and entreated him with great lamentation to raise their (foster)-sons for them. Then Ruadan and Brendan with their monks prostrated themselves in 'cross-vigil' and made earnest prayer to the Lord for the raising up of the dead boys; and the Lord brought them back to life again in honour of Ruadan.


     198bThe next night Ruadan was in Tara demanding 521 his refugee; that night a [dreadful] vision appeared to the king. He saw a mighty tree; and it seemed to him that the top of the tree was among the rafters 522 of heaven, and its roots in the earth. He saw further thrice fifty men approach it. A broad-bladed axe was in the hand of every one of them, and they began to 523 hack and hew the tree with them, till they brought 524 it to the ground with them, and the noise of the tree falling roused the king from his troubled 525 and restless sleep. And this is what remained in the windows of his hearing, the sound of the psalmody of Ruadan with his monks, and the ringing of their bells together as they cursed him, so that these sounds continued to fill his ears.


    The king went out of the city at the rising of the sun, for it was tabu to the rulers of Tara that sunrise should overtake them within the seven ramparts of Tara. The king proceeded to the place where the holy clerk Ruadan was with his monks. When the king arrived the monks ceased their chanting, 526 and kept silence to listen to the king.


    Then spoke Diarmait: “It is a good work that I am engaged on, striving to uphold order and justice, to maintain right, and enforce respect for 527 law. 528 And I had the certainty of attaining it,” said he, “were only peace maintained. But as for you,” said he, “ill is your  p.316 work in attempting to uphold wickedness, overturning right and sovereign rule, bringing law into contempt, and protecting criminals. The vengeance of the Lord will rain upon you therefor,” said he.


    And Diarmait continued: “Thy church, O Ruadan, will be the church 529 the pre-eminence of which over the chief churches of Erin will be the first to fail.” Ruadan retorted:  199a “Thy 530 sovereignty shall fail yet sooner,” said he, “and none of thy seed shall inhabit Tara in thy train.” Diarmait replied: “Thy place 531 shall be desert, said he, a herd of swine shall range it, and root it up with their snouts.” Ruadan answered him: “Tara shall be desert for many centuries ere that,” said he, “and no one shall inhabit it thenceforth till doom.”


    Diarmait answered him: “Disgrace will come on thy body, for there will be destruction 532 of one of thy members, to wit of thine eye, so that with that (eye) thine eyesight will never be clear, so long as thou livest.” 533 Ruadan replied: “Thou shalt perish by the swords of enemies by an ignoble death on thee, and thy members shall be divided, and suddenly and hideously dispersed, so that they shall not be got together for burial.” Diarmait answered: “Thy tomb — a wild boar shall assail it, and root it up,” said he. Ruadan answered him: “I promise thee, said he, that the 534 thigh which thou didst not lift (lit. open) in Tara in my honour, shall one day not be found with thy (other) members for burial; and as to the house in which thou shalt die,” said St. Ruadan, “when that house is cleared out after the sheep, it will be on the rubbish-shovel that thou wilt be lifted from the bosom of a dung-heap.”


    Then said Diarmait: “Cease now,” said he, “ye have taken away my sovereignty, and are become protectors of criminals. I know that ye have greater favour with the Lord than I.” “Begone,” said Diarmait, “and take the man with you in return for (the payment of) his redemption money to me.” They remained there awhile, and saw thirty blue horses,  199b unlike any other horses [for beauty], rising out of the great sea to the south of Poll Ruadain, and coming to Ruadan. Ruadan made them race against the horses of Tara, and they beat them. And Ruadan gave the horses as redemption money for Aed Guaire. The king gave them to the nobles of his household. A little while afterwards the horses returned to the same neighbouring 535 sea, without a particle of profit to 536 their warriors. Ruadan then departed from Tara in peace with the king, and Aed Guaire with him.


    Ruadan sees some lepers following him. The lepers  p.317 asked an alms of him. “I have no means here,” said he, “except the horses under the chariot; and you shall have them for the love of the Lord.” The lepers retired, taking the horses with them. Ruadan afterwards saw two stags coming towards him from the neighbouring wood. They put their heads into the harness 537 of the chariot, and bore him with great honour to his own monastery. The stags return by themselves to their wooded 538 glens.


    Once during Lent Ruadan stood and said to his monks: “There is a company of saints coming to visit you; set meat before them, and eat of the meat yourselves when it happens that you cannot provide enough for them of other food.” When the saints had arrived, the monks brought the meat. Ruadan sained the meat, though he was abashed before them. The Lord Jesus Christ turned the meat into bread in honour of Ruadan.


    When 539, however, the saints set themselves at table, a novice who had come with them to the place, refused  200a to eat the bread, through doubt and indevotion, 540 because he had seen that the bread had been made out of meat only a little while before. A sufficiency of other bread was found for him. And while the novice was eating the bread, it appeared to the clerks, and to all besides, that bright red blood was dripping from his lips, and that it was flesh 541 that he was eating. It was evident to him that every one was gazing at him thus. The novice repented earnestly of what he had done. When Ruadan saw the repentance of the novice, he sained his portion; and the Lord turned it into natural bread in honour of Ruadan afterwards. The name of God, &c.


    One summer time Ruadan was standing, and saw twelve 542 lepers coming towards him, who asked an alms of the saint. He said to them: “It is in the Lord's power to give you an alms, ye hapless ones.” St. Ruadan planted his staff in the ground, and in doing so broke up the ground. There arose a burst of water through the earth 543 thereupon, which became a notable fountain called Piscina, because there is abundance of fish in it. It is now popularly called Ruadan's fount. As to the twelve lepers, they washed in the water of the fountain, and were completely whole. 544 The name of God, &c.


    545 It was to St. Ruadan that his Lord Jesus Christ sent the doe from the wood towards evening at the time of  200b vespers. The doe would stay with Ruadan to be milked. It ran quickly and lightly,  p.318 and afterwards it departed and came to Colman Ela, and then was milked for Colman a little after the rise of dawn.


    Once at the very beginning of spring Ruadan was minded to reside at Doire Eidnech. Mac Dairine of Doire Mor heard that he was there; and the young man set off to go to him, with a large basket of butter as a present for Ruadan. Mac Dairine placed the vessel on two unbroken oxen.


    The oxen set their faces towards the monastery from Doire Mor, a path not used before or afterwards. The Lord prepared an excellent road before them through the bog, which was never found before this time or afterwards, and the road was hard and practicable for the oxen at every step till it reached Ruadan at Doire Eidnech. Ruadan divided the (contents of the) vessel into a hundred and fifty parts, and distributed them to the same number of men. The vessel, however, was found full on the following Whitsunday, as it was when it came to Ruadan.


    Once upon a time Ruadan chanced to be in Ara [Cliach]. He sees a woman coming towards him with wet cheeks, and (signs of) heavy grief, and great entreaty. And she besought Ruadan humbly and patiently to raise her son from the dead for her. When Ruadan besought the mighty Lord on behalf of the dead, the dead arose thereafter. 546


     201aAnother youth St. Ruadan raised. When his head was put under Ruadan's cowl, he arose from the dead.


    A third man Ruadan raised from the dead in Cuillenn in the territory of Eile. The place in which he wrought this miracle was given to him. To this day it is called Tulach Ruadain (R.'s Hill).


    There was a certain cursed fellow in the district of Úi Néill called (per antiphrasin) Aed the guiltless. 547 Many were his bad doings, for he was fierce and a counsellor of evil. Now this man offered his land to Aed son of Brec. Aed promised him the kingdom of God in return.


    Afterwards the man died. A vast pitiless host of demons fought against him. The holy bishop fought against them in the air on his behalf. When they wanted to overpower the bishop and carry off the man to his own place and abode, viz. to hell, bishop Aed promptly besought Ruadan 548 and Columcille to come to help him. The two saints arose (and went) to him, and both fought (on his side) against them, and bore the man with them to the kingdom of God, after defeating the demon.


    Ruadan and Columcille, however, after this each of them said that owing to this they had forgotten (that it was time for) their bell-ringing, (and they hurried off) after taking leave of one another. Now Columcille had a gold manual [writing tablets] which he used for his pupils' writing. Through forgetfulness he left it with Ruadan one day.


    Baithin came into Columcille's presence, and said  201b to him: “Where,” said he, “is the manual which you had with you the day of the decision?” “I declare, O Baithin, said Columcille, that I left it behind with Ruadan the day of the decision. And I say to thee, go thyself to Ruadan and bring the manual with you to me.”


    Baithin set out to go to Ruadan. Ruadan, however, had the manual with him in readiness for Baithin, for it had been revealed to him long before he came, that Baithin would come to fetch the manual. Baithin bade farewell to Ruadan, and came back to Columcille, bringing the book.


    Now Ruadan was twelve feet high, and perfect in form, and it was evident that he was well proportioned inwardly, for he was comely both within and without, but more comely within. He was noble in the sight of men, but nobler still in the sight of God. He was great in body, but greater still in grace. He was great before God and men; great in the present age, greater in the age which never passes away.


    He was great in love and obedience, great in patience and compassion, great in manifold good, (and in) the frequency and number of his worthy deeds in this world, whereof he has reaped manifold good in the other world from the Son of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ our Lord. For this, too, he has received the exceeding great reward, and the ineffable honour, and the glory which can never be extinguished in the heavenly country, in the presence of the High King, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the mighty Trinity, one God, the Lord Almighty, our only High King, with Whom is peace unending, and fullness of every good.


    This life of Ruadan was extracted from the book of Echraid O'Sheil of Fercall in the convent of the brethren of Athlone, on Feb. 30 (sic!), 1628 A. D. And it was (re)copied by the same scribe in the convent of the brethren of Donegal on March 2, 1629. I am the poor friar Michael O'Clery.

    62. Appendix 1

    549  160b Once when Ruadan was on a clerical tour to the king of Eoganacht Caisil, Eochaid son of Maelugra, a certain druid of the  p.320 men of Alba came on a guesting tour to the men of Erin with his burdensome company, resolved to carry off the honour of Erin, or to get everything he should ask of the men of Erin.


    Loban was the name of the druid. He came to the place where Eochaid was; and he would accept no other boon of him, except that the one eye which he had in his head should be given to him; otherwise he would carry off with him to Alba his honour, and the honour of the men of Erin. When the king heard this he said that his honour would remain for ever, but his eye would not so remain. Thereupon he put his finger under his eye, and threw the eye into the druid's bosom.


    When St. Ruadan perceived the unlawful demand made by the druid, he fell on his knees and prostrated himself in cross-vigil, and prayed earnestly to God that the two eyes of the druid might go into the head of the king Eochaid, to serve him in the place of his own eye. And this was fulfilled through Ruadan's intercession.


    The two eyes of the druid started out of his head through the intercession of St. Ruadan, and through the power of God, and went into the face and countenance of Eochaid, and served him, as if they had been his own eyes from his birth, so that all who saw him said: “It is Loban's eye (Suil Lobain) that he has;” and so the name of Suiblebain (Sullivan) stuck to him. When Eochaid saw this miracle he offered himself and his seed and descendants  161a in perpetual possession to God and to Ruadan. And the name of God, &c.

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    Title (uniform): Bethada Náem nÉrenn

    Title (translation, English Translation): Lives of the Irish Saints

    Editor: Charles Plummer

    Responsibility statement

    English translation by: Charles Plummer

    Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber

    Proof corrections by: Janet Crawford, Carol Cregg, Beatrix Färber, and Juliette Maffet

    Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

    Edition statement

    3. Third draft, enlarged

    Extent: 132224 words

    Publication statement

    Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

    Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland

    Date: 2012

    Date: 2014

    Date: 2015

    Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

    CELT document ID: T201000G

    Availability: The text on which this electronic edition is based is in the free domain. This electronic edition is available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

    Notes statement

    For a description of the MS see Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy, fasc. 23 (ed. Elizabeth FitzPatrick and Kathleen Mulchrone, Dublin 1940) 2780–83. For further information see the CELT file header of the Irish version, G201000.

    Source description

    Manuscript sources for Irish text

    1. Brussels, Royal Library, MS 2324–40, written by Michael O'Clery, AD 1620–1635 (hereafter O'Clery 1).
    2. Brussels, Royal Library, MS 4190–200, written by Michael O'Clery, AD 1627–1635 (hereafter O'Clery 2).
    3. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 968 (olim A iv 1 olim Stowe MSS, vol. 9, see Catalogue of the Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy, fasc. 22, p. 2780), copied at Cork by Domhnall Ó Duinnín for Francis O'Mahony, provincial of the Friars Minor of Ireland in September 1627 (hereafter Stowe).

    Editions, secondary and reference works

    1. John Francis [=Iain] Campbell, Popular Tales of the West Highlands, orally collected with a translation by J. F. Campbell; vol. I, 48 (Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1860–1862).
    2. Charles Plummer (ed.), Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae, 2 vols. (Oxford 1910; repr. Oxford 1968) [SS Abbanus, Aedus, Albeus, Barrus, Berachus, Boecius, Brendanus, Cannicus, Carthagus, Ciaranus de Cluain, Ciaranus de Saigir, Coemgenus, Colmanus de Land Elo, Comgallus, Cronanus, Declanus, Endeus, Fechinus, Finanus de Cenn Etigh, Fintanus, Geraldus, Ita, Lasrianus seu Molaissus, Maedoc, Mochoemog, Mochua de Tech Mochua, Moling, Molua seu Lugidus, Munnu, Ruadanus, Samthanna, Tigernacus].
    3. Charles Plummer, Bethada Náem nÉrenn. Lives of the Irish Saints (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1922, repr. 1968). 2 vols. Vol. 1: Introduction, texts, glossary; vol. 2: Translations, notes, indexes.
    4. Silva gadelica, 2 vols. (London, 1892), i 1–65, ii 1–69 [Lives of SS Ciarán of Saigir, Mo Laise, Maigniu, Cellach; respectively from London, BL, Egerton 112; s. xviii (1780–2); London, BL, Additional 18205; s. xvi; London, BL, Egerton 91; s. xv; Dublin, RIA, 1230 olim 23 P 16 al. Leabhar Breac].
    5. D. B. Mulcahy (ed. & trans.), Beatha naoimh Chiaráin Saighre: Life of S. Kiaran (the Elder) of Seir (Dublin 1895).
    6. Rudolf Thurneysen, 'Eine Variante der Brendan-Legende', Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 10 (1914), 416–420 [available online at CELT].
    7. Paul Grosjean (ed.), 'Vita S. Ciarani episcopi de Saigir ex codice hagiographico Gothano', Analecta Bollandiana 59 (1941), 217–71.
    8. W. W. Heist (ed.), Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae ex codice olim Salmanticensi nunc Bruxellensi, Subsidia Hagiographica, 28 (Brussels 1965) [SS Brigida, Furseus, Brendanus (2), Ciaranus Cluanensis, Darerca seu Monenna, Finnianus de Cluain Iraird, Tigernachus, Columba Hiensis (2), Fintanus de Dun Blesci, Albeus, Lugidus seu Molua (2), Fintanus de Cluain Edhnech, Finanus de Cenn Etigh, Ruadanus, Aidus episcopus Killariensis, Cainnechus, Fintanus seu Munnu (2), Colmanus de Land Elo, Columba de Tir Da Glas, Aedanus seu Maedoc Fernensis, Abbanus, Cronanus de Ros Cré, Laurentius episcopus Dublinensis, Flannanus, Senanus, Comgallus, Carthachus seu Mochuda, Lasrianus seu Molaisse, Maccarthinnus, Ciaranus Saigirensis, Dairchellus seu Moling, Colmanus Dromorensis, Caemgenus Glenndalochensis, Baithinus Hiensis, Daigeus mac Cairill, Mochteus, Eoganus Ardsratensis, Macnissseus, Cuannatheus seu Cuanna Limorensis, Mochulleus].
    9. Liam de Paor, St Patrick's world: the christian culture of Ireland's apostolic age (Dublin 1993) 227–80 [SS Ailbe, Déclán, Ciarán of Saigir].
    10. Pádraig Ó Riain, Beatha Bharra: Saint Finnbarr of Cork, the Complete Life (London: Irish Texts Society 1994).
    11. Máire Herbert, 'Hagiography', in: Progress in medieval Irish studies (Maynooth 1996).
    12. Ingrid Sperber (trans.), 'The Life of St Ciarán of Saigir', in William Nolan and Timothy P. O'Neill (eds.), Offaly: history and society (Dublin 1998) 131–52 [from Dublin, Marsh's L, Z 3.1.5. olim V. 3. 4; s. xv].
    13. Christina Harrington, Women in a Celtic Church: Ireland 450–1150 (Oxford 2002).
    14. Thomas Charles-Edwards, 'The Northern Lectionary: a Source for the Codex Salmanticensis', in: Jane Cartwright (ed), Celtic Hagiography and Saints' Cults (Cardiff: University of Wales Press 2003) 148–160.
    15. Nathalie Stalmans, Saints d'Irlande: Analyse critique des sources hagiographiques (VIIe-IXe siècles) (Rennes 2003).
    16. Pádraig Ó Riain, A dictionary of Irish Saints (Dublin 2011) (with bibliography).
    17. Charles Doherty, Linda Doran and Mary Kelly (eds), Glendalough: City of God (Dublin 2011).
    18. Pádraig Ó Riain, 'The Lives of Kevin (Caoimhghin) of Glendalough', in Charles Doherty, Linda Doran and Mary Kelly (eds), Glendalough: City of God (Dublin 2011) 137–144.

    Select bibliography of Charles Plummer's writings

    1. P. Allen; F. M. Stenton; R. I. Best, Charles Plummer 1851–1927 [with bibliography], Proceedings of the British Academy 15. Separately printed [1931].
    2. Paul Grosjean, Charles Plummer, Revue Celtique 45 (1928), 431–435.
    3. Charles Plummer, The Conversion of Loegaire and his Death, Revue Celtique 6 (1884), 162–172.
    4. Charles Plummer, Notes on the Stowe Missal, Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung 27 (1885), 441–448.
    5. Charles Plummer, Some new light on the Brendan legend, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 5 (1905), 124–141.
    6. Charles Plummer, Cáin Eimíne Báin, Ériu 4 (1908), 39–46.
    7. Charles Plummer, Betha Farannáin, Anecdota from Irish Manuscripts 3 (1909), 1–7.
    8. Charles Plummer, Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae (Oxford 1910). 2 vols.
    9. Charles Plummer, The miracles of Senan, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 10 (1914), 1–35.
    10. Charles Plummer, Notes on some passages in the Brehon laws, Ériu 8 (1916 (17)), 127–132; 9 (1921), 31–42; (1923), 109–117; 10 (1926), 113–129.
    11. Charles Plummer, On the meaning of Ogam stones, Revue Celtique 40 (1923), 387–390.
    12. Charles Plummer, Notes on some passages in the Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus of Stokes and Strachan, Revue Celtique 42 (1925), 376–378.
    13. Charles Plummer, Irish Litanies (London 1925). Henry Bradshaw Society 62.
    14. Charles Plummer, Miscellanea Hagiographica Hibernica (Brussels 1925). Société des Bollandistes, Subsidia Hagiographica 15.
    15. Charles Plummer, On the colophons and marginalia of Irish scribes, Proceedings of the British Academy 12, 11–44. Separately printed, 34 pp. (London [1926]).
    16. Charles Plummer, On the fragmentary state of the text of the Brehon laws, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 17 (1927), 157–166.
    17. Charles Plummer; J. Fraser; P. Grosjean, Vita Brigitae (Irish Texts 1 (1931), 2–18).

    Internet source

    • Plummer's Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae (Oxford 1910) is available on www.archive.org.

    The edition used in the digital edition

    Plummer, Charles and Richard Irvine Best, eds. (1922). Bethada Náem nÉrenn (Lives of Irish Saints)‍. 2nd ed. repr. 1968. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

      title 	 = {Bethada Náem nÉrenn (Lives of Irish Saints) },
      editor 	 = {Charles Plummer and Richard Irvine Best},
      edition 	 = {2},
      note 	 = {vol. 1: xliv + 346 pp; vol. 2: 484pp},
      publisher 	 = {Clarendon Press},
      address 	 = { Oxford},
      date 	 = {1922},
      note 	 = {repr. 1968}


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    Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

    Sampling declarations

    This edition covers the English translation. Editorial introduction, glossary, and indexes have been omitted. Editorial foot- and endnotes are added into the electronic edition as such (endnotes being placed directly after the text they refer to; and sections introduced by Plummer being labelled 'subsections'). Missing text supplied by the editor is tagged.

    Editorial declarations

    Correction: Text has been checked and proof-read twice. All corrections and supplied text are tagged.

    Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text. Milestones for manuscript foliation given refer to the Irish text.

    Quotation: Quotation marks are rendered q.

    Hyphenation: Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break or line-break, the page-break and line-break are marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.

    Segmentation: div0=the volume; div1=the individual saint's Life or religious text; sections (which derive from the MSS) are marked div2; sub-sections, which derive from the editor, are marked div3, when present; poems are marked for stanzas and lines. Typographical line-breaks are not marked. Page-breaks and folio numbers of the manuscript are marked.

    Standard values: Dates are standardized in the ISO form yyyy-mm-dd.

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    A canonical reference to a location in this text should be made using “Life” and “Line”, eg Life 1, Line .

    Profile description

    Creation: Translation by Charles Plummer; for Irish text see CELT file header for file G201000. c. 1921–1922

    Language usage

    • The translation is in English. (en)
    • Some words and phrases are in Latin. (la)
    • Some words and phrases are in Irish. (ga)
    • A phrase is in French. (fr)
    • A word or two in the footnotes in German. (de)

    Keywords: religious; prose; medieval; Saint's Life; Abbán; Bairre; Finbarr; Berach; Brendan son of Findlug; Ciarán of Saighir; Coemgen; Colman Ela; Maedoc of Ferns; Mochuda; Ruadan; translation

    Revision description

    (Most recent first)

    1. 2015-03-31: Corrections added; Sons of Ua Suanaig and Life of Ruadan (303–320 added) file reparsed and validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    2. 2015-03-27: File proofed (2) and corrections communicated. (ed. Janet Crawford)
    3. 2015-03-25: Life of Mochuda and Expulsion of Mochuda from Rahen (282–302) added and encoded based on companion file. Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted; file parsed, validated and updated version converted to HTML. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    4. 2015-03-24: Life of Maedoc of Ferns II (184–281) added and encoded based on companion file. Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted; file parsed, validated and updated version converted to HTML. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    5. 2015-03-09: Life of Maedoc of Ferns (177–183) added and encoded based on companion file. Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted; file parsed, validated and updated version converted to HTML. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    6. 2015-03-09: Life of Colman Ela (162–176) added and encoded based on companion file. Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted; file parsed, validated and updated version converted to HTML. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    7. 2015-02-26: Life of Coemgen 3 (151–161) added and encoded based on companion file. Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted; file parsed, validated and updated version converted to HTML. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    8. 2014-10-29: Life of Coemgen 2 (127–150) added and encoded based on companion file. Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted into Life of Berach; file parsed, validated and updated version converted to HTML. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    9. 2014-10-18: Text 'The Twelve Apostles of Ireland' (93–98) and Life of Coemgen 1 (121–126) added and encoded based on Irish companion file. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    10. 2012-05-15: Corrections integrated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    11. 2012-05-15: Lives of Abban and Baire proofed online (2), corrections submitted. (ed. Carol Cregg)
    12. 2012-04-26: Direct speech encoded, text proofed (2); SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    13. 2012-04-17: Life of Berach and footnotes proofed (1); structural and content markup applied. File parsed. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    14. 2012-04-02: Life of Berach and Plummer's footnotes on text scanned in. (file capture Beatrix Färber)
    15. 2012-03-28: Milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted, direct speech encoded. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    16. 2012-03-27: Plummer's endnotes on Abban and Bairre added; additions made to bibliographic details. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    17. 2012-03-25: Life of Bairre proofed (1); structural and some content encoding applied; a selection of Irish place-names encoded. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    18. 2012-03-23: Life of Bairre scanned in. (text capture Beatrix Färber)
    19. 2012-03-14: Proof corrections by Janet Crawford integrated; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    20. 2012-03-10: Both Lives of Ciaran proofed online (2). (ed. Janet Crawford)
    21. 2012-03-09: Life of Abban proofed (1); structural and some content encoding applied; encoding of Irish place-names started. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    22. 2012-03-07: Life of Abban scanned in. (text capture Beatrix Färber)
    23. 2012-03-06: Header created based on companion file; more structural encoding applied to both Lives of Ciaran; milestones for manuscript foliation from Irish text inserted; endnotes added; bibliographic details added; file parsed; provisional HTML file created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
    24. 2012-02-28: Life 1 of Ciaran proofed (1); structural and some content encoding applied. (ed. Juliette Maffet)
    25. 2012-02-27: Two lives of Ciaran scanned in. (text capture Beatrix Färber)

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    1. to be instructed in strength and skill and valour, and the practice of every feat St. 🢀

    2. into prison as a criminal St.  🢀

    3. hideous St. 🢀

    4. and they frequently raise their heads in that corner, to show, &c. St. 🢀

    5. And Finan prophesied the coming of Abban some years before his birth St. (reversing the relation of the two saints).  🢀

    6. with his staff St.  🢀

    7. proud soldiers St.  🢀

    8. sent to beg Abban to intervene St.  🢀

    9. i.e. prayer with the arms stretched out in the form of the cross. St., more conventionally: “he prayed earnestly to God to stop this rapine.”  🢀

    10. and it was not easy to find in the one place pails sufficient for its milk St.  🢀

    11. A later note in St. says: “I am not sure whether this is the end of the Life”; and clearly it is not. 🢀

    12. Plummer's endnotes p. 323–324
      Subsection 1. On the authorities for the Life of Abban, see Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae pp. xxiii ff. This first section is cited, Mart. Don. Apr. 23.
      Subsection 5. “The hostages' pit” is an original touch, not suggested by the Latin Lives. St. has altered it into the colourless “prison”. On the exaction and treatment of hostages, v. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae pp. civ f. To the references there given the following may be added. There was a Duma na ngiall, “Mound of the hostages” at Emain (Navan), T. B. C. p. 673 note i. From LU. 53b. 22, 23 (=Anecdota i. 16) it would seem that the givers of hostages sometimes stipulated that they should be committed to a particular person for safe custody. A powerful chief is called “fer gabála giall nÉrenn”, i. e. receiver of the hostages of Ireland, R. C. xviii. 41 (Tigh); while Niall “of the nine hostages” was so called, because he had constantly at his court “cóic geill hErenn, ⁊ giall Alban, ⁊ giall Saxan, ⁊ giall Bretan, ⁊ giall Franc” i.e. five hostages of Ireland, one of Alba, one of the Saxons, one of the Britons, and one of the Franks, Rawl. B. 502 f. 47a 35, 36; cf. Maed. ii. Subsections 17, 123. For an instance of the efficacy of the system, v. F. M. iii. 214; and cf. Laws, i. 2, 82; ii. 224; iv. 50, 338. On the miraculous loosing of prisoners, v. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae p. cxxxix; cf. Acta Apocr. i. 90, 186, 234; II. ii. 263, 273.
      Subsections 6, 7. On the raising of eaten animals, v. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae p. cxliii. A boiled child is resuscitated, Le Grand, p. 235a.
      Subsections 11–15. In the Latin Lives these incidents take place in Britain, at a town called “Abbaindun uel Dun Abbain” (M) or “Albatun quod interpretatur uilla Albani” (S), instead of at Padua in Italy. The object of this is to identify our saint with the mythical founder of Abingdon, cf. Chron. Mon. Abingdon, i. 2, 3.
      Subsection 20 ad finem. This passage and the parallel passages in the Latin Lives, M subsection 17, S subsection 12, ought to have been cited in Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae p. clxxix among the instances of “path-protections” to which many additions might be made.
      Subsection 24. Gobnat and her church of Boirnech under its more modern name of Baile Muirne (Ballyvourney) are mentioned Mart. Don. Feb. 11; cf. Fél.2 p. 72. In Richardson's Great Folly of Pilgrimages in Ireland (1727), pp. 70–1, is a most curious account of the cult paid to her image at this place. Among other things the writer says: “when any one is sick of the small pox, they send for it the image, sacrifice a sheep to it, and wrap the skin about the sick person, and the family eat the sheep”; cf. also F. M. vi. 2313 note. She was a patroness of bees. Elder Faiths, i. 228. Colgan had heard of a Life of her as extant in South Munster, A. S. p. 315. Unfortunately it has not come to light. The ruins of her church at Kilgobnet, near Dungarvan, still exist; and an old man with whom I conversed there on 18th July 1913 told me that he remembered pilgrimages and a fair being held on her day, 11th Feb.; but it was all forgotten now. There is a sacred well in a field above the church.
      Subsection 25. Becan and Mobecoc are one and the same person, according to the well-known Irish mode of forming hypocoristic names, cf. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae ii. 344–5. This section of our life is quoted in the Mart. Don. at May 26, which is St. Becan's day. Cill Cruimpir is for Cill Craimthir, as we have “timpirecht” for “timthirecht”.
      Subsection 28. On transformations worked by Saints, v. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae pp. dxxxiv f.
      Subsection 29. On miraculous preservation under water, v. ib. cxlviii, and add to the references there given, Ériu, v. 20, 34.
      Subsection 31. On this form of punishment, v. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae p. dxviii; British Saints, ii. 193; Conybeare, Apollonius, p. 247.
      Subsection 37. On Gobban Saér, v. Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae pp. clxiii f., and add to the references there given, Brash, Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland, pp. 155–69; Campbell, Tales, ii 151, 169; Mac Culloch, R. A.C. p. 76. 🢀

    13. There was a noble marriageable maiden, a noble honourable woman attendance on the wife of this king Ir.2  🢀

    14. The woman blushed at this, add. Ir.2  🢀

    15. the wind rose, add. Ir.2  🢀

    16. the noble lady bore a broad-headed elegant boy Ir.2  🢀

    17. to wit, Brendan, Lochán, and Fidach, add. Ir.2 🢀

    18. Barrfinn or Finnbarr, and this was the first day that he (Bairre) made his confession Ir.2 🢀

    19. and this was accepted from him, add. St. Ir.2 adds: He (Bairre) bade farewell to his teacher and to all his school-fellows. 🢀

    20. 2 And the name Cell Barra (Bairre's Church) in Ossory is given to it to-day, add. Ir.2 🢀

    21. Cainnech, the saint who had been in that church previously Ir.2 🢀

    22. The conversation runs thus in Ir.2: “What advantage shall there be to me in return for quitting it?” (said Bairre). “Great advantage, O Bairre,” said Cainnech; “in whatever place or stead shall be thy abode, thy relics, and thy haunting, there shall be there abundance of sages and clerics and saints, and abundance of prosperity and honour, and every good in thy church continually, in return for the honour and reverence done by thee to me.” “What other advantage shall I have?” said Bairre. “All the advantages previously mentioned shall belong to every one of thy successors,” (said Cainnech.) “Very grievous to me is the kind of judgement which thou hast passed upon me, O holy cleric,” said Bairre. “For I would have healed many sinners of their sins by this bargain; but (as it is) I fear that every one will admit remissness in his faith and devotion, because of the judgement which thou hast passed on me.” Cainnech said: “Whenever thy heir and successor assumes the headship, he shall not depart without confession granted him from the heavenly King.” 🢀

    23. and fulfil their rule St.  🢀

    24. Meirgech (i.e. of the banners) Ir.2 🢀

    25. pleasantly, add. Ir.2  🢀

    26. and bade them take it to her, add. St.  🢀

    27. in the place called Doire Coille, add. Ir.2  🢀

    28. and they were sitting under a hazel tree, add. St. 🢀

    29. showers of ripe nuts out of their husks before them Ir.2. 🢀

    30. To the west of Ros Ir. 2; St. adds: “and kept a great school there.”  🢀

    31. Eolang the patron of Achad Bolg Ir.2  🢀

    32. and Cormac, add. St.  🢀

    33. To the west of Ros Ir. 2; St. adds: “and kept a great school there.”  🢀

    34. Eolang the patron of Achad Bolg Ir.2  🢀

    35. and Cormac, add. St. 🢀

    36. and Duineda of Achad Duin, and Echtach, and Brigit of Tipra nandhe; and these formed the company of the school of female saints that were with Bairre in Edergole Ir.2 🢀

    37. and the seven books of the Law, add. St.  🢀

    38. Instead of “with the Host” Ir.2 has “with his ascetics.” 🢀

    39. misprinted “Genan” in text.  🢀

    40. southwards, add. St. 🢀

    41. Baithin St., Ir. 2; perhaps rightly. 🢀

    42. and himself and his offspring St.  🢀

    43. with a noble company of clergy, add. Ir.2  🢀

    44. and the oil would heal every ailment to which it was applied, add. Ir.2  🢀

    45. For they were all pupils of Bairre, add. St.  🢀

    46. in this cemetery St.  🢀

    47. Ir.2 adds: “therefore every bishop who shall'be in Cork is bound to have a covering or case on his hand.”  🢀

    48. St . adds: I pray the mercy of Almighty God, that we may all likewise reach and inhabit (heaven) in secula seculorum. Amen. It endeth.  🢀

    49. The colophon in Ir.2 (168) runs thus: “Here is the life of Bairre as it was found by Father Eogan Úa Caoim (O'Keeffe) in the book of the Ui Cruimin of Aghabulloge, copied by John O'Gonnell the younger at Bale Putéil in 1772, and written the third time by Eogan Kavanagh the eighteenth day of spring, the Eve of Shrovetide 1817.” 🢀

    50. Plummer's endnotes p. 324–326
      Subsection 1. On the authorities for the Life of Bairre,